Judicial Bond-Setting Behavior: The Perceived Nature of the Crime May Matter More than How Serious it is

Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 20(4), Nov 2014, 411-420

Posted: 14 Dec 2015  

Robert Beattey

Fellow

Taiki Matsuura

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Elizabeth Jeglic

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Date Written: November 1, 2014

Abstract

Whether a criminal defendant will be released on bail or held in jail pretrial is one of the first decisions made in a criminal prosecution. This study examined whether a certain group of defendants is subject to the setting of higher bonds by virtue of the subjectively perceived nature of the offense with which the defendants are charged. We specifically tested whether, despite lower overall rearrest rates, judges are imposing higher bonds on defendants charged with a sex offense than on defendants charged with a nonsex offense of equal statutory offense level. Results showed a statistically significant difference in the bond rates between sex offenders and nonsex offenders, with the mean sex offense bond being set approximately $30,000 higher than the mean nonsex offense bond, despite controlling for level of offense, sex of the defendant, and judge setting the bond amount. Given the high costs of pretrial detention to both the defendant and the state, the utility of empirically based bond setting is discussed.

Keywords: bond, judicial decision-making, sex offenders, criminal adjudication

Suggested Citation

Beattey, Robert and Matsuura, Taiki and Jeglic, Elizabeth, Judicial Bond-Setting Behavior: The Perceived Nature of the Crime May Matter More than How Serious it is (November 1, 2014). Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 20(4), Nov 2014, 411-420. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702928

Robert Beattey (Contact Author)

Fellow ( email )

524 West 59th Street
Rm 10.63.34
New York, NY 10019
United States

Taiki Matsuura

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

445 W59th Street, Room 3418.03
New York, NY 10019
United States

Elizabeth Jeglic

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

445 W59th Street, Room 3418.03
New York, NY 10019
United States

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