Monday, November 04, 2013

Is bond jumping a real problem?

The Miami Herald ran a big story this weekend on Medicare fraud defendants jumping bail, even including a "gallery of rogues."  The article is worth a read and the numbers at first blush seem alarming:
Gonzalez and some 30 other defendants have been captured over the last half-dozen years, with the pace of arrests beginning to pick up this year. There are still another 150 fugitives from outstanding Medicare fraud cases in South Florida, most of them Cuban-born immigrants who fled to Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and other Spanish-speaking countries to evade federal trials.
My problem with the article though is that there is no discussion about how many defendants actually appear for court after being released on bond.  In fact, the statistics kept by the Bureau of Justice show that the overwhelming majority of criminal defendants released on bond show up for all court appearances at much less cost to the taxpayer than housing them at the Federal Detention Center.

And what about the 150 Medicare defendants that are still on the run?  Well, later in the article, it is revealed that 90 of those 150 are not out on bond and do not even know that they are charged:
The FBI has maintained a list of at least 90 South Florida Medicare fraud fugitives identified by name, compiled by Special Agent Bryan Piper. The bureau, assisted by Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, also has a list of an additional 90 defendants who have been charged by sealed indictment, but also are suspected of having fled the region. As a result, they are unaware they are wanted in Miami, and agents don’t want to tip them off.
Finally, most fugitives get caught:
So far, about 30 fugitives have been busted. Culp said that most South Florida fugitives typically get caught while they are on the lam in foreign nations, or when they return to this country through Miami International Airport.
So I hope that the article does not dissuade judges from granting bond.  In the overwhelming number of cases, bond is appropriate, and it works.

Read more here:

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

If you follow the Herald, you know that Weaver carries the prosecutor's water on these cases. Not surprising he wrote a misleading article.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

what a silly herald article

MC Waste Services, Inc said...

Corporate bonds are now the rare exception anyways. Only after the last possibility is explored will a defendant get a bond in south florida. AUSAs are taught to scream "flight risk, flight risk," the second they get hired. Right to bond no longer a valid constitutional right.

Anonymous said...

Released on bond means released on probation in this district. The defendants are subject to almost the same restrictions, sometimes with multiple probation officers checking on them. No presumption of innocence here.