Keeping repeat violent criminals off the street

Bail is being set too low for some repeat violent offenders

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield city leaders are pushing to make new laws that will keep repeat violent offenders off the street.

In a recent case in Holyoke, the District Attorney requested 50,000 bail for a man that allegedly shot at a house with kids in it and he also had a history of gun related charges.The judge saw it fit for bail to be set at $500.

Many local area leaders agree that bail is being set too low for some repeat violent offenders, making it easier for them to get back into criminal activities on the street and after already being arrested and arraigned.

When prosecuting a repeat violent offender the District Attorneys office can ask for a pre-trial detention hearing, and a person can be put behind bars for 90 days if a judge allows.

“It’s a two silo system where bail is on one track if you will and pre-trial detentions are on another,” Hampden County Assistant District Attorney Jane Montori said.

If a pre-trial detention is denied by a judge it goes to a bail hearing. While the judge can set the bail at whatever amount they feel proper, a defendant can still appeal the decision to the higher courts.  The DA cannot appeal the bail amount to a higher court.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said, “Sometimes they’ll say well oh our hands are tied, though they can interpret it any way they want. we need more tools. Well I’m going to give you the tools now.”

The Mayor along with other local leaders hope to put forth a law that would allow the DA to appeal to the higher courts to adjust bail.

Springfield Police Chief John Barbieri said, “The goal here is to limit their mobility, so that when they’re arrested they stay incarcerated pre-trial. The goal is to improve our ability to get cooperation from victims of witnesses and also limit the amount of harm that they can cause the remaining residents of the city.”

Barbieri says its less than 2% of people in the city that are involved in gangs, drugs, and gun crimes but they put others at risk.

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