Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Wisconsin assembly bill would lessen the penalty for bail jumpingSubmitted: 12/05/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin
Reporter/Anchor
sgoin@wjfw.com

Wisconsin assembly bill would lessen the penalty for bail jumping
WISCONSIN - New legislation at the state level could make the penalty for bail jumping less severe.

Some law enforcement officials in Oneida County believe that move would be misguided.

Under current Wisconsin law, bail jumping means failure to comply with the terms of a bond after being released from custody in a pending criminal matter.

"It's violating basically the rules that the judge set forth for you for future court dates, it's the rules to basically keep you out of jail," explained Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Tyler Young. "Maybe not having contact with certain people, the witnesses, or going to establishments that serve alcohol, things of that nature are common conditions."

Assembly Bill 638 would make the penalty for all bail jumping a Class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors are punishable up to 90 days in jail and or a fine of up to $1,000. The bill would also only allow a defendant to be charged for bail jumping once per underlying charge.

Under current law, a defendant will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for bail jumping if the underlying charge is a misdemeanor. A defendant will be charged with a Class H felony for bail jumping if the underlying charge is a felony.

Class A misdemeanors are punishable up to 9 months in jail and or a fine of up to $10,000; Class H felonies up to six years in prison and or a fine up to $10,000.

Young said those charged with bail jumping rarely receive the full extent of the penalty.

"If you get arrested for misdemeanor bail jumping you get booked into the jail and you get released again," said Young. "Felony bail jumping you get held in the jail until the judge gives you different bail conditions."

Young said defendants in Oneida County face bail jumping charges often. In 2019 so far, 195 people were charged with misdemeanor bail jumping and 129 people were charged with felony bail jumping. In 2018, 244 people were charged with misdemeanor bail jumping and 162 people were charged with felony bail jumping.

Young believes the new bill raises concerns.

"The possibility of lessing [sic] the consequence for not following the rules, I don't know where that's incentive or where we're going to see a decrease of people bail jumping," said Young.

Bill sponsor Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers) claims charging people for bail jumping with the verdict out on their underlying charge bypasses the justice system.

"Automatically get somebody for a felony even if they've not been convicted of the underlying crime, I don't agree with that," said Sortwell.

He believes bail jumping charges are just used as an easy way to keep criminals in jail.

"That's part of why they sometimes they don't even bother charging people on other charges because they've already got them on a felony and they're good with that," said Sortwell.

He believes someone should be convicted of a felony before a felony bail jumping charge is added.

In a press release, bill author Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) said "bail jumping, as it is written now, does not make any sense. It is supposed to be a tool to make people show up for court. However, it has morphed into a tool to force plea deals onto defendants, depriving them of their Constitutional right to a jury trial."

Young claims that bail jumping charges are necessary even if the secondary offence seems innocuous.

"For the opportunity not to be incarcerated they agreed to these terms," said Young. "A felony's a serious charged and there should be guarantees that they don't recommit."

Assembly Bill 638 was introduced Monday and referred to the committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

ONEIDA COUNTY - It takes a lot of work to maintain over 30 miles of silent sports trails in Oneida County.

+ Read More

Play Video

NEWBOLD - Parts of the Northwoods have seen more than blank feet of snow this season. First responders want to make sure that snow doesn't create a public safety concern.

The fluorescent 'fire signs' outside many Northwoods homes help firefighters and other first responders find your home quickly when there's an emergency.

Newbold Fire Chief Mark Fetzer said it's important to keep them clear of snow.

"If we can't see them, neither can whoever is removing the snow from your driveway," said Fetzer. "They may plow it right over, then you won't have a sign there at all."

+ Read More

FOREST COUNTY - Four individuals will face drug possession and drug trafficking chargers following a law enforcement operation in Forest Co. earlier this month. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Taking a selfie to post on social media is usually seen as a harmless act.

+ Read More

NORTH & CENTRAL WISCONSIN - Time Federal Savings Bank will soon be known as Prevail Bank per a media release.

Last year, Time Federal acquired the Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point and Baraboo branches of River Cities Bank through a merger.

Starting Feb. 24, all nine bank branches including those in Medford, Eau Claire, Marshfield, Owen, Phillips and Wausau will transition to the new name.

+ Read More

Play Video

ROTHSCHILD - Candidates in Wisconsin's 7th congressional district race are taking their message directly to voters with less than one month until the primary election in February. 

+ Read More

FOX CROSSING - Sheriff's officials say a person wanted for felony warrants has died after a shooting involving officers from the Winnebago County SWAT team. Authorities say the person who died was also wanted for questioning in multiple crimes.

The SWAT team was summoned to the scene about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday near the border of Appleton and the Village of Fox Crossing.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: