Sarah Tombs, 22, was shot to death by her live-in boyfriend, Darien Shellman, in April 2019 while Sarah’s 4 year old daughter was in the other room. The court released Shellman under the new bail law, but they had previously set the bail at $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond. Clearly with the evidence they felt that there needed to be some oversight to his release.
Sarah’s mother Jennifer Payne came out publicly in opposition to the new bill.“Nothing was gained today but the freedom of a killer!” Payne wrote in a statement. Can you even imagine, someone shoots you child in the head and just gets to walk out of jail as if nothing happened.
New York’s bail law, which went into effect Jan 2020 did away with money bail and pretrial detention for a wide majority of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. It’s only been in effect for 2 weeks, and there is already backlash due to defendants being released on their own recognizance even on changes of murder
Here are just a few “nonviolent” offenses where someone will be booked and released under the no bail system; stalking, assault without serious injury, burglary, many drug offenses, and even some kinds of arson and robbery, and apparently even murder.
Someone can commit a litany of offenses and get let out of jail with not even a slap on the wrist. The system of bail is the only thing that can ensure the defendant returns to their court appearance and serves their sentencing. The percentage of bench warrants issued in California alone is staggering due to pretrial services where defendants are released without bail. If there is no consequence the number of bench warrants issued spikes.
Law enforcement officials have spent months raising red flags on the change, now many citizens have begun to voice their concerns and frustrations now that they see the backlash of the no bail system.
Keep this is mind come November when SB10 is on the ballot.