CMPD chief, Meck County DA go to Raleigh to support proposed bond change
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings and District Attorney Spencer Merriweather were in Raleigh Tuesday asking lawmakers to change the way bond is given in the court system.
PAST COVERAGE: Mecklenburg County judge says fixing bail bonds is up to legislature
There have been complaints that some suspected criminals are getting out of jail too easily.
On Tuesday, Jennings met with multiple representatives in their offices after publicly backing a proposed law that would change the way the bond is given.
The proposed changes come after several suspects from Charlotte were given low bonds or no bonds after being accused of violent crimes.
“It’s accountability for the entire criminal justice system that needs to be looked at,” said Jennings after his Raleigh visit.
The police chief explained why he thinks a judge should be calling the shots.
“The judges are accountable to the people who voted them into office,” Jennings told Channel 9 via Zoom. “Oftentimes, magistrates, you don’t know who they are.”
Some lawmakers pushed back for the first time because they are worried that the proposed law could threaten constitutional rights.
I appreciate the opportunity to meet with legislators, like @repabejones and @ElectLauraBudd, to discuss issues and how we can work together on solutions. This bill addresses issues that bridge any party lines. I’m encouraged to see it moving forward in the legislative process. pic.twitter.com/6nHvgtihpx
— Chief Jennings (@cmpdchief) May 2, 2023
“We’re not focusing on the problem here, we’re creating a solution that is too broad,” said Rep. Marcia Morey, who represents the Durham area. “Let’s address bonds with magistrates. Let’s teach them. Let’s keep victims safe but this bill is not a way to do it.”
Under the proposed law, anyone who is out on pretrial release and is arrested for another crime would get no bond for at least 48 hours.
Morey and other lawmakers pointed out concerns about that as well, arguing those who are arrested have a constitutional right to bond.
The proposed bill was passed onto the Rules Committee and has overall support from Republicans and Democrats.