A judge in Stoughton recently set bail for the Bridgewater woman accused in a deadly drunk driving incident at $100,000. The Defendant asked the judge to set a bail in the amount of $2500, while the District Attorney argued for a $10, 000 cash bail. After hearing the arguement the judge set the bail at $100,000.
It is rare that a judge will exceed the amount of bail the District Attorney seeks. It is even more rare that the judge will increase the bail by that much. Anytime a person is arraigned on a criminal charge the Districct Attorney has the right to seek bail or conditions of release in lieu of bail. Judges set bail on conditions set out in the bail law. The conditions include potential penalties, nature and circumstances of the crime alledged, risk of flight, ties to the community, drug abuse, employment to name a few. Here the crime alloedge is very serious but the woman has never been in trouble before.
I support the request by the District Attorney. Not because it is lower and I am a criminal defense attorney but because I think it is fair. It is a tragic situation and nothing lessens the fact the a woman died, but the issue was to set bail The purpose of bail is to ensure the persons appearance a the next date. The United State Constitution even provides the right that excessive bail not be allowed. Setting bail cannot and should not be punative that is what a sentence is for.
In this case, the woman would then petition the Superior Court for a bail reduction and I think that they will reduce the bail. In Massachusetts, if the judge sets $100,000 the defendant will have to post the enitire amount. Bail Bondsman are not used in Massachusetts and the amount set by the judge is the amount one needs to get out of jail.