Florida Woman Held NO BOND 99 Days on Shoplifting Charge in Legal Limbo
By: Justice Now
Not so for this unfortunate woman. The trial Judge, in Pierson's case, has a practice that any motion for bond is set for the same time as the next scheduled court date for that case. Pierson was in jail 37 days before her bond hearing. At the next appearance the state generally offers time served. Defendants plead guilty if they want to get out of jail. 90% of defendants plead guilty to get out of jail regardless of innocence or the defensibility of their case. Most of these cases, bond revoked, in that court, resolve in this manner. Defendant's that don't plead guilty, don't get out of jail. The state didn't offer Pierson credit time served for the case she is held in jail on. They want her not only to plead guilty to shoplifting but to the new traffic charge which she maintains innocence of and it carries a mandatory license suspension. Had bond not been revoked the very worst likely outcome of the misdemeanor would have been attorney fees and court costs. According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, most misdemeanor cases in Florida are resolved by fines. Only 17% serve any jail time and the average jail time is 31 days.
Pierson should have gotten bond but when bond is revoked, people lose all protections under the law.
Rachael Pierson, in jail almost 100 days, has lost over $8,000 in earnings, her home is in jeopardy of foreclosure, she paid $4,000 in legal fees, she hasn't seen her children or been with her loved ones. The taxpayers of that county have spent an estimated $8,000 for her housing. (The last figures available are $70 a day in fiscal year 2007) Besides the unbelievable disregard for her civil rights, the injustice and the emotionally scarring, degrading, experiences that she has suffered, what this cost her and taxpayers looks like a lose, lose situation.
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