Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bail or No Bail

Our U.S. Constitution guarantees every individual the right to reasonable bail. A court may deny bail in cases charging murder or treason, or when there is a danger that the defendant will flee or commit mayhem. Parental kidnapper Clark Rockefeller is currently being held without bail.

In parental kidnapping cases it is common for judges to set a very high amount of bail and unusual to deny bail completely. There is little doubt Clark Rockefeller and Holly Ann Collins if arrested 14 years ago would not be flight risks. In both cases, the protection of the young children from a re-abduction would have been at issue and a very high bail or not bail would be in order. However, now that the Collins children are adults, it is likely that Holly Collins if and when she decides to "mom up" will not be held without bail or a high bail set.

That all said, there should be conditions of bail. For example, Collins should agree to surrender all passports. All victims including her adult children should refrain from contact with the accused so she cannot influence their testimony. Holly Collin's former spouse did not see his children for 14 years, would one or two years during a jury trial be really that bad. Finally, a gag order should prevent her from criticizing the very system that she alleges could not protect her children. This case needs to be determined in a court room rather than in the media.

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