Judicial Watch: A Judicial Watch investigation has uncovered disturbing records about Massachusetts’ unique bail system, which allows violent criminals with lengthy rap sheets—including murderers, domestic abusers and drunk drivers—to be released on bail to commit more crimes. Considering the atrocities perpetrated by serious offenders who get discharged when they should remain incarcerated, the state’s outrageous bail system can easily be described as criminal.
The controversial system, the only one of its kind in the United States, uses bail commissioners—many with no legal background—to determine if an arrested individual should be released. If the defendant goes free on bail, the commissioner gets $40 for going to the courthouse and doing the paperwork and the commissioner only gets paid if the perpetrator is released. That means there’s a financial incentive to get people back on the street. Incredibly, the commissioners don’t need to have a legal background. In fact, an investigation conducted years ago by a Boston news outlet revealed that bail commissioners include retired teachers, carpenters, couriers and high school guidance counselors. “By night, these and others are bail commissioners, officials appointed by court administrators to decide whether someone arrested after court hours can safely be released on bail, and if so, how much bail should be,” the news story states.
The bail commissioners are supposed to consider crucial factors before signing off on a defendant’s release, including past criminal record and the risk of not showing up in court. Judicial Watch’s investigation determined that this is hardly the case. In some instances, defendants with shocking criminal histories are released on their own recognizance, which is allowed under Massachusetts code. This occurred in the case of a 22-year-old career criminal named Mickey Rivera, who caused a fatal crash in Cape Cod over the summer while driving high on drugs and alcohol. After leading police on a high-speed chase, Rivera hit another vehicle head on, killing the driver, a 32-year-old Marine combat veteran on his way home from visiting his wife and newborn daughter in the hospital. Rivera and his passenger, a 24-year-old mother, were ejected and both were also killed. read more