The Eighth Amendment: Reasonable Bail and Other Rights
All Americans have certain unalienable rights bestowed upon them by our forefathers, listed in our Bill of Rights. They consist of 10 individual amendments to the Constitution that protect our rights and freedoms. They include our free speech, the right to a fair and just trial, and more. One in particular that exist but is not broadly understood is the Eighth Amendment, the right to reasonable bail.
The Eighth Amendment Understood
Congress passed the Bill of Rights on September 25, 1789, later to be ratified December 15, 1791. The Eighth Amendment says:
"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Without getting into the controversy of the second portion of the Amendment, the first part is straightforward. The amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing unreasonably harsh punishments. This Amendment pertains not only to the ensuing punishment following a conviction but also in the pre-trial detention facility and the cost of bail.
Other Rights upon Arrest
The following are rights provided by Illinois and federal law to adults accused of a crime:
- Remain silent at every step of the investigation and criminal prosecution,
- Prompt bond hearing,
- Receive information on the evidence and witness statements,
- Choose whether to present the case to a jury or judge for trial,
- Ability to confront witnesses,
- Right to testify or not testify during proceedings, and
- The decision to appeal.
How to Bail Out of A Pre-Trial Detention Facility
Our justice system centers firmly around the idea of “innocent until proven guilty”. While time is necessary for questioning and fingerprinting, an excessive amount of time at a detention facility acts against the belief of innocence. However, to maintain the integrity of the system, individuals accused must appear for their court date. Therefore, a bond (or bail) often must be paid to the court clerk’s office to secure release for a pending court appearance. For most misdemeanors, the cost is predetermined, but judges set felony bail amounts at their discretion. Occasionally, this price is not configured, or the accused is unable to make the payment and must wait in a holding cell to see a judge. This individual must be taken to the nearest judge in the county without unnecessary delay.
If you or someone you love was unfairly treated in a pre-trial detention facility or you otherwise feel that there has been a breach of rights, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel. The police and prosecution sometimes hope that you do not know or understand your rights and use it to their advantage. If you are interested in discussing the circumstances surrounding your case with a Maywood, IL criminal defense attorney, contact Stringini & Garvey, P.C. today at 630-834-9595 to schedule your free initial consultation. We proudly serve clients in Addison, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Bloomingdale, and all surrounding Chicagoland areas.