Philadelphia Biker’s Bail Charged With Assault – Bail Increased to 4 Million Dollars –What determines your bail in Pennsylvania and what your criminal defense lawyer can do about it
Recently a Philadelphia Court of Common Plea judge raised the bail of Cody M. Heron, the Philadelphia biker charged with assault, from 2.5 million to 4 million following a defense motion to reduce it. I believe that both bail amounts are excessive and disregards the purpose of bail in Pennsylvania or any State! You many recall that Heron was charged with allegedly stomping on the back windshield of a motorist in Center City Philadelphia and allegedly assaulting her after she exited the vehicle to confront him. Heron is now charged with aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime, criminal mischief and related charges
Bail is obviously a major issue for someone facing criminal allegations because it will determine whether he or can remain out of custody pending trial.
Your criminal defense lawyer must understand bail and the factors that determine it in Pennsylvania. Your attorney must make a bail argument regardless of the charge but
Who is entitled to bail in Pennsylvania?
With exception to those charged with capital offense (i.e. Murder) or those facing life sentence, every criminal defendant charged with a crime is entitled to bail in Pennsylvania. This right is guaranteed by the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as Article I, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Bail is cash or the cash equivalent used as security to ensure that a person who is released pending trial will appear at all future court proceedings and also comply with any other conditions the court may impose. Bail is not meant to punish someone. Every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt!
The primary purpose of bail is to secure a person’s presence at trial and to protect society from an alleged dangerous individual. The Pennsylvania and the United States Constitution prohibit a state or the federal government from imposing an excessive amount of bail.
Bail is set after a person is charged with a crime and a substantial period of time before trial. This is the main reason why bail is so important. If you’re unable to post bail, you will have to remain in jail. Prior to setting bail, the bail authority (usually a judge or bail commissioner will listen to arguments from the defense and prosecution (assistant district attorney – ADA)
What factors determine bail in Pennsylvania?
- The nature of the crime or offense and any mitigation or aggravation regarding it
- The defendant’s employment history and financial condition
- The defendant’s family relationships (i.e. children) (stability)
- The length and nature of the defendant’s residence in the community and past residence (community contact)
- The defendant’s age, reputation, and mental condition
- The defendant’s history regarding his or her failure to appear in the past (aka – prior bench warrant)
- The defendant’s prior criminal history
- Any other factors the court may find relevant in this analysis
Is Cody Heron’s $4 million bail in Philadelphia appropriate?
I believe that Heron’s bail is excessive given that it appears that he is a lifelong Philadelphia resident and appears to have prior significant criminal history. Further, there is no evidence to indicate that Heron would not appear for future court dates and that he would flee. While the charges against Heron are serious, he deserves and as is entitled to a presumption of innocence. Heron’s current bail appears random and arbitrary and not based on the factors stated above. While Pennsylvania bail guidelines are often disregarded, a judge should at least review them prior to setting bail. Here, it appears that this Philadelphia judge set bail to punish Heron before trial and this is wrong!
Your criminal defense lawyer should argue these points at your initial bail hearing and every subsequent bail petition hearing if it remains an issue. If you’re attorney can not explain these concepts to you, find a new criminal defense lawyer!
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