INDIANAPOLIS — The Marion County Superior Court is suspending its support of The Bail Project, effective immediately, some three years after Indy operations began.
A letter to The Bail Project obtained by CBS4 states that after reviewing data from the third quarter of 2021, criminal judges voted to suspend support of The Bail Project pending further review and data collection.
Presiding Judge Amy Jones wrote: “The 2018 letter of support written by the previous Executive Committee should no longer be submitted to the Marion County Clerk with the refund of any Bail Project bonds moving forward.”
The letter also states a representative of The Bail Project is invited to speak at a Jan. 10 meeting to give the judges an update. The judges want reports in three different areas:
- A listing of all cases by court in which bonds have been posted by The Bail Project to date. This includes the defendant’s name and case number.
- Data including the defendant’s name and case number for all individuals who were out on a Bail Project cash bond and either had a pretrial release violation filed OR were arrested on new charges; and
- The number of actual referrals made by The Bail Project to any wraparound services, including the names of those services. This should only include referrals to service providers made by The Bail Project and not the Marion County Public Defender Agency’s social workers or lists of resources provided to the individual to make contact of their own.
After reviewing all of that information, the court says it will decide whether to support The Bail Project moving forward.
The Bail Project sent us this statement:
“Judges set cash bail and once they do, it should not matter who posts the bail, whether it is a family member, a bail bonds company, or a charity like ours. The fact that our not-for-profit is being singled out for requirements is concerning. We stand by the value of our services in helping people who are too poor to afford bail and we look forward to discussing our program directly with the court to address the topics raised in this letter. In the meantime, we will continue providing bail assistance as we have for nearly 1,000 low-income Hoosiers to date, particularly with the holidays around the corner when so many families are separated because they cannot afford bail for a loved one.”National Director of Operations, David Gaspar
The Bail Project is a nonprofit that provides free bail assistance to thousands of low-income people every year.
CBS4’s news partners FOX59 began looking into The Bail Project this year after three recent violent crimes allegedly committed by people bailed out on previous cases by The Bail Project.
For example, Marcus Garvin’s initial bond was set at $30,000, but Judge Shatrese Flowers lowered it to $1,500 with GPS monitoring, and The Bail Project paid. He is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Christie Holt.
The Bail Project paid bail for Travis Lang in January, helping with his pre-trial release for a drug possession charge. Lang also had three felony cases pending for burglary, breaking and entering, and resisting law enforcement. He’s accused of killing 24-year-old Dylan McGinnis.
On Dec. 1, Deonta Williams allegedly stabbed two IMPD officers. The Bail Project paid his $750 bond for a burglary charge earlier this year.