INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A police raid on Indy’s west side made headlines this week after guns and drugs were seized, but just days later the story is re-igniting complaints about bond rules put in place by the Marion County court system.
The rules governing bonds in Marion County continue to lead to what some critics call “catch and release” criminal justice by allowing some accused criminals of being released from jail without having a judge review the case first.
In the bust this week on Vermont Street, one assault rifle was found on the couch, another was tucked behind a water tank. In all, three guns, drugs, body armor and more were seized on Monday. Four people were arrested, yet all four are now back on the street days later.
“Our officers are doing their jobs. They are arresting people that are committing crimes. The problem lies with the system that lets people right back out,” said Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) #86 President Rick Snyder.
Snyder wouldn’t talk about this week’s bust specifically, but he believes the five-page document which sets automatic bond amounts for numerous felony charges hurts public safety.
“Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but there has to be some accountability. When there’s not accountability, it becomes a joke,” said Snyder.
Prosecutors charged Robert Lee, one of the four suspects arrested this week, with escape for knowingly violating home detention following a previous drug case. In Marion County the bond rules for escape only require a 500 dollar cash bond, which Lee was able to post.
“Logic would not say for violating house arrest, put him back on house arrest. Logic would say keep him locked up in jail,” said Snyder.
Andrew Tyner, Jasmine Suggs and Deon Lee were arrested this week for lesser drug related charges were released from jail without posting any cash, because possession of marijuana charges only require a signature and no appearance before a judge.
A spokesperson with the Marion County prosecutors office previously sent a statement on the bond rules that read, “We were given the opportunity to provide input during the discussion of these rules, but ultimately this is the decision of the courts. In cases where we believe a higher than standard bond is appropriate, we will continue to request such from the court.”
The court administrator didn’t respond to a request for comment on the bond rules.
“The criminal element has no fear of consequences in the criminal justice system. It’s no one’s fault, but it does command the attention of our community,” said Snyder.
According to City-County Council member Christine Scales who told us about the story, right now there are 26,830 outstanding warrants in Marion County.
“The sheriff's office estimated that 80 percent of those outstanding warrants are failure to appears- so 21,464. Hardly shows the low bail to be successful, I would say,” said Scales.