SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of suspected criminals are arrested in western Massachusetts every week.
35-year-old Joshua Cutler allegedly struck two children crossing the street, killing a teenage bicyclist. He’s being held on $35-thousand bail.
Adam Thurber is accused of a similar crime, and pleaded not guilty to charges including motor vehicular homicide. He’s being held on $100-thousand bail.
The 22News I-Team wanted to know how bail is set, and why some suspects have a much higher bail than others.
Hampden County Clerk of Courts Laura Gentile told 22News, one factor is to try to guarantee a defendant shows up for their trial. “The purpose of bail is to make sure somebody comes back to court.”
She also said bail is not meant to be a form of punishment, because under the constitution, you’re innocent until proven guilty.
Gentile told the I-Team there are more than ten factors that judges and clerks consider when setting bail, this includes everything from the crime that person allegedly committed, to their financial resources, and whether they have family in the area. “If a prosecutor believes there are reasons for a high bail, the prosecutor will argue those reasons.”
Springfield Defense Attorney Joseph Pacella told the I-Team the crime the person is accused of committing is just part of the equation. “Judges, clerks, are going to look at your criminal record, your financial resources, whether you have any defaults on your history. The seriousness of the defense is going to play a part, however, they’re just one part.”
If a suspect is released on bail, they still have to follow strict guidelines. That means following the law, and can potentially include restrictions and conditions, like wearing a GPS-monitoring bracelet.