Are people committing crimes while out on bond in Wayne County? Judge says no

The 36th District Court moved to a system over the summer that limits the use of cash bail.

Under an agreement with the ACLU, which will be in place for 2-5 years, people will not be detained unless, after reviewing evidence, a judge determines that releasing them would create an unmanageable flight risk or danger to the public.

Some people have concerns about this.

"To be candid I actually support bond reform," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said. "Where I have problems and concerns is when we’re talking about people who pose a threat to our community, someone who has been violent, someone who has attempted murder or murdered someone being out on bond. I think that that is not the intent of bond reform."

However, William McConico, the 36th District Court chief judge, said the people on pretrial release are not committing crimes.

"Even though there are more people on bond than in years past those people on bond are not committing crimes," he said. "Pretrial detention is not to be used for punishment. Pretrial detention is used for the safety of the community and to ensure a person appears at courts."

As many courts initiate bond reform, some defendants say it’s long overdue.

"I was charged with first-degree murder. I was not given a bond or it was so high that I couldn't reach it," Lamar Monson said.

Monson spent 21 years in prison.

"Come to find out that I was actually innocent," he said. "I was exonerated in February 2017."

Now Monson makes advocating for bond reform his mission and supports other advocates.

"Part of the reason why we entered into the settlement is that we saw people being incarcerated awaiting low-level cases, traffic cases losing their jobs, having problems with child care," McConico said.

He said it’s now time to focus on issues that will make a real difference in fighting crime.

"We need to focus in on why people commit crime in the first place," McConico said.