Judiciary needs public scrutiny

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Judges who dole out seemingly low criminal bonds increase frustration for law enforcement officers and anxiety for local citizens.

We understand and appreciate the frustration Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten and other law enforcement officers feel when they put their lives at risk to catch the “bad guys,” only to see them back on the streets before the day is over.

Last week, Patten shared his concerns over low bonds and the effect they have on victims of crimes.

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For law enforcement officers, seeing a suspect walk quickly is frustrating. For the victims, however, the same situation can be terrifying.

Judges must strike a balance between what is fair to society and what’s fair to the person who is charged but not yet found guilty.

We understand that. But we also know that common sense and consideration for the public’s safety must play a larger role in the decisions made our court system.

To set a bond that allows someone who reportedly burned down another person’s house go free by paying a bail bondsman a couple of thousand dollars just seems questionable. The same can be said for someone charged with serious drug crimes and weapons charges, who has a repeated history of similar crimes.

In their defense, judges say everyone charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. But, that doesn’t mean we need to let all charged criminals walk out of custody with meager bonds that may not be large enough to guarantee the person will return for court.

Law abiding citizens deserve greater common sense and increased public scrutiny of a judicial system meant to keep the public safe.