So, I just had to bitch about a quirk in Alaska criminal law: the court approved third party custodian idea. The Alaska Statutes allow for a 'third party' to be approved by the court so a criminal accused can get out of jail. The idea was that those without funds (ahem: like 85% plus of those in the system) can bail out without cash. Bail has two parts. First, is the accused a 'flight risk'? Second, is the accused a public safety risk? The statute directs the judge to look at a number of factors. Here's the problem: generally, a court approved third party has to watch an accused "24/7". Sounds ok if it gets someone out of jail who would otherwise stay in, despite the presumption of innocence. The problem, of course, is that the State generally convinces the court that everyone is a public safety risk. Everyone. Smoking pot in your own home? Worse than Hitler. Insurance fraud? Danger. Got into a beef with your estranged spouse? You make John Wayne Gacy look like a choir boy. It goes on and on. I keep holding my breath waiting for the State to admit that someone is not a "danger" no matter how low level or 'understandable' the crime. Much longer and I'm going to get brain damage. It is absurd. Unless you know someone who is chronically unemployed or disabled OR you are rich, you can pretty much forget about bail in Alaska. The Legislature had an ok idea. As usual the State, and the Judges who (for the most part) lick their boots, have subverted it. And now you understand bail in Alaska. Hopeless.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I stumbled across your blog not to long ago and I greatly enjoy it. I practice in Maine and am interested in the 24/7 third party bail program. Do you have a cite?
Sure. Alaska Statute 12.30.020 (b)(1).
Anonymous said…
Third party condition is abused on a regular basis. The court has to "FIND" there is a need for this. Not because the D.A. asked for the requirement. O.R or P.R. release should be the norm. Showing of danger or flight etc. is hardly ever required to slap a TPC on to a release order.

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