Commercial Bail Bonding: A Comparison of Common Law Alternatives

Commercial Bail Bonding: A Comparison of Common Law Alternatives

Commercial Bail Bonding: A Comparison of Common Law Alternatives

Commercial Bail Bonding: A Comparison of Common Law Alternatives

Synopsis

Devine argues persuasively for alternatives to the American commercial bail bonding system in this comprehensive, international comparison of bail. He shows how 15 countries of common-law heritage condemn the American approach to pre-trial release and have developed effective alternatives. The only comparative analysis of its kind, this book is valuable to scholars of criminal justice, criminology, comparative law, political science, and sociology, as well as to criminal justice reformers and professionals.

Excerpt

Demands of time and space have forced certain limits upon this study. Its scope is limited to pretrial bail law in the lower courts, since this corresponds to the typical bail situation in the United States. Many of the countries covered, however, place great emphasis upon bail granted by police or the use of summons, both of which avoid any court appearance by accuseds. The study's coverage ends January 1, 1989 for all countries, except for a few instances where cases were decided well before that date but were reported after it. Selection of countries for extensive discussion rested upon three criteria: (1) the usefulness of a given bail system for expanding knowledge about potential varieties of bail types; (2) the extent of the available case law developing that bail system; and (3) the recentness of the body of case law available. For all countries given major treatment, case law runs up to the deadline set. For lesser coverage, it normally comes up to at least 1985. (In three instances--Liberia, Tanzania, and Zambia--because of the particular interest of the bail system, countries were given limited treatment even though available material fell well short of this standard.) Few jurisdictions publish or even collect bail statistics. To provide some impression of bail in practice I have supplemented these with comments based on the bail results in the cases I have collected. Obviously, these are likely to be biased toward the more difficult cases. They are offered only to present a rough idea of practice in the absence of any better indications and certainly pretend to no statistical exactitude.

Numerous thanks are deserved, but few can be explicit here. I should like to thank the Fulbright Foundation for its Senior Scholar Award to study Australian bail, and the Australian Institute of Criminology and its people for their assistance in hosting my research.

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