By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
On January 11th, the City of Doral took a step in favor of public safety after the approval of a resolution against the bail and bond reform proposed by a criminal court administrative order through which certain criminals would be released under their own recognizance without attending a first appearance hearing before a judge or posting any monetary bond.
“I fear that the contemplated bail and bond reform may bring dangerous criminals back into our community, specifically those who have been charged with non-domestic assault and battery,” Councilwoman Maureen Porras said during a Council meeting where she brought forth this item before Mayor Christi Fraga and City Councilmembers for their consideration. The motion was passed by unanimous vote.
Councilwoman Maureen Porras also highlighted during her presentation the great job the police does to prevent crime. “If this reform were to pass, their job would be undone.”
A look at the reform
The motivation behind the opposition to this reform, which has not yet been approved at the county level, stems from the need to protect the safety and well-being of residents and to join other municipalities, such as Miami Beach, that has already passed a motion against this measure.
“As a lawyer, I have followed the reforms of the justice system for years, and this one, in particular, has been brought up after verifying that the current system is not very fair with those who lack the financial resources to pay a bond, especially defendants of minor offenses,” Maureen explained for this journal.
The problem is that although there is a list of crimes excluded from this reform as they are considered to be more serious, non-domestic assault and battery are still included, which means that those who commit these crimes can be released without having to pay a bond or see a judge.
“Violent crimes should not be included in this reform,” says Maureen, adding that Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office requested the administrative judge who is presenting the reform to include the involvement of all county municipalities in this discussion with the purpose of making our voices heard in front of the criminal justice system.
“It is our duty to let them know we don’t want violent criminals in our communities even when we have zero control over the final decision. All we can do is put pressure and use our voice,” says Maureen.
For this reason, the fact that the city has passed a motion opposing this reform demonstrates the commitment that its leaders have regarding the safety and quality of life of residents, businesses, and visitors.
“This is the beginning of a more proactive Council that advocates on behalf of our residents to keep the peace, aiming to prevent the reform from passing as it is now written,” concludes the Councilwoman.