Blackjack Bail Bonds Las Vegas
The Clark County jail is notoriously slow when it comes to bail, and a recent change could make it even slower, further clogging the criminal justice system.
Las Vegas Justice Court this week stopped allowing people to post bail between midnight and 8 a.m. and is no longer letting out people eligible for release without bail between midnight and 4 a.m. The reason: The court’s pretrial services division, which processes bail requests, has been under a hiring freeze since October that has thinned its ranks.
“We’re no longer able to spread everything out over 24 hours, ” Chief Judge Ann Zimmerman said.
Henderson and North Las Vegas justice courts have round-the-clock bail services. So do courts in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Diego and Washoe County.
Zimmerman and other legal experts say the Las Vegas court is not violating anyone’s rights by closing the bail windows overnight. “Certainly you have a right to bail, but there’s nothing that said you have a right to bail this minute, ” Zimmerman said.
Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the possible results are an issue, however. If people cannot post bail overnight, they will spend more time in jail, and that will make overcrowding at the county jail even worse, Lichtenstein predicts.
“You already have 40 people in a holding cell, some of them sleeping on the floor, ” he said. “It looks like something out of the Third World.”
Forcing someone to endure such conditions “for a long period of time does raise some serious constitutional concerns, ” he added.
Instead of making moves that further delay the release of people who can or have posted bail, the Clark County judicial system should be working to clear out jail beds quicker, he said.
He said that if the local criminal justice system were interested in saving money, it would do more to make sure that individuals who make bail are released in a timely fashion, something he said would reduce the overcrowding — and reduce costs to taxpayers for housing, guarding, feeding and providing medical care for inmates.
“The goal should be that people who are not a danger to the community or are not a flight risk should be processed so as not to overload the system, ” he said.
Lichtenstein said that for years he has been asking why it takes so long for people to be released after posting bail. “I never get a clear answer, ” he said.
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