Monday, August 08, 2016

Arrest vs. surrender

It's a dirty little (not-so)secret in our system that cooperators are treated very differently than those who decide to fight.  Sometimes those discrepancies are justified, but many times they are not.  For example, if you cooperate and agree to plead guilty before charges are filed, you are allowed to surrender and immediately bond out.  But heaven-forbid that you want to fight the upcoming charges, you almost will certainly be arrested (at 6am in front of your family) and often-times, there will be a fight over bond.  There is simply no reason for this other than to punish people who want to fight. Unless a defendant presents a real danger or risk of flight, he should be permitted to surrender just like the cooperator.

The Opa-Locka case is a good example.  The cooperator was (rightfully) permitted to surrender.  From the Herald:
On Monday, the 51-year-old administrator surrendered in federal court in Miami on a charge of using his office to pocket thousands of dollars in bribes while shaking down local businesses seeking licenses in one of Florida’s poorest cities.
Appearing in handcuffs and leg braces, the once-popular city manager who resigned from his job last week pleaded not guilty, was granted a $50,000 bond and was released in the afternoon.

Read more here:

According to the Miami Herald, a "sweeping" indictment is coming out soon.  Will those defendants be given the same courtesy?  Why shouldn't those individuals also be permitted to surrender and post bond as well?  Is it a good use of resources to send the SWAT team in full riot gear to a white-collar defendant's home at 6am to arrest a defendant in front of his kids?  


Anonymous said...

Not really about resources, right? All the people subject to this "sweeping indictment" probably know they are under investigation and have been given the chance to cooperate. They have refused, which is their right. Like you say they all can surrender.

But this is about something else. The feds want to punish, shame and humiliate these people in front of their friends and family because they have decided not to cooperate. And show that they are in control. It's disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

It is really rather disgraceful, and it says something about the character, or lack thereof, of the prosecutors and agents involved. And it undermines their moral high ground in these cases. But, the truth is that they could care less. The ends justify the means and no one but the defendants and their lawyers seem to care.

Bruce Reinhart said...

What is particularly ironic is that the police are (rightfully) concerned about officer safety, yet they insist on creating unnecessary volatile and dangerous situations by executing arrest warrants on defendants who would peacefully surrender.

Anonymous said...

11:10 AM, I think you mean: "could NOT care less."

Anonymous said...

Oh, please! This blog has become such a liberal rag. Let's see if this comment even gets posted. How many cooperators flee vs. those who protest their innocence (or at least their "not guilty-ness")? And the vast majority of reasonable prosecutors will allow any defendant to self-surrender. Very, very few AUSAs or agents want to incur the expense/risk that a 6 am arrest warrant execution entails. It's definitely not as cool or sexy as some people apparently think!