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Pretrial and Detention in Florida – Guilty Until Proven Innocent

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Rule of Law Justice

State laws should be viewed with a watchful eye as we move toward the next election. I often speak highly of Florida state laws, but make no mistake – Florida’s state government is still a GOVERNMENT but the lesser of multiple evils. Nearly every state quietly passed new legislation on January 1, and Florida’s new rules regarding pretrial release and detention are concerning.

SB 1534 regarding pretrial and detention now state that only a judge may set bail.

Section 1. Subsections (4), (5), and (6) are added to

   48  section 903.011, Florida Statutes, to read:

   49         903.011 Pretrial release “Bail” and “bond” defined; general

   50  terms; statewide uniform bond schedule.—

   51         (4) Except as authorized in subsection (5), only a judge

   52  may set, reduce, or otherwise alter a defendant’s bail. Upon

   53  motion by a defendant, or on the court’s own motion, a court may

   54  reconsider the monetary component of a defendant’s bail if he or

   55  she is unable to post a monetary bond.

   56         (5)(a) Beginning January 1, 2024, and annually thereafter,

   57  the Supreme Court must adopt a uniform statewide bond schedule

   58  for criminal offenses not described in subsection (6) for which

   59  a person may be released on bail before and in lieu of his or

   60  her first appearance hearing or bail determination. The Supreme

   61  Court must make the revised uniform statewide bond schedule

   62  available to each judicial circuit.


Judges will have the ability to raise bail, but they may not lower it. If convicted, not charged, with the following crimes, you will be detained until a judge can hear your case:


(6) A person may not be released before his or her first

   93  appearance hearing or bail determination and a judge must

   94  determine the appropriate bail, if any, based on an

   95  individualized consideration of the criteria in s. 903.046(2),

   96  if the person meets any of the following criteria:

   97         (a) The person was, at the time of arrest for any felony,

   98  on pretrial release, probation, or community control in this

   99  state or any other state;

  100         (b) The person was, at the time of arrest, designated as a

  101  sexual offender or sexual predator in this state or any other

  102  state;

  103         (c) The person was arrested for violating a protective

  104  injunction;

  105         (d) The person was, at the time of arrest, on release from

  106  supervision under s. 947.1405, s. 947.146, s. 947.149, or s.

  107  944.4731;

  108         (e) The person has, at any time before the current arrest,

  109  been sentenced pursuant to s. 775.082(9) or s. 775.084 as a

  110  prison releasee reoffender, habitual violent felony offender,

  111  three-time violent felony offender, or violent career criminal;

  112         (f) The person has been arrested three or more times in the

  113  12 months immediately preceding his or her arrest for the

  114  current offense; or

  115         (g) The person’s current offense of arrest is for one or

  116  more of the following crimes:

  117         1. A capital felony, life felony, felony of the first

  118  degree, or felony of the second degree;

  119         2. A homicide under chapter 782; or any attempt,

  120  solicitation, or conspiracy to commit a homicide;

  121         3. Assault in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot;

  122  felony battery; domestic battery by strangulation; domestic

  123  violence, as defined in s. 741.28; stalking; mob intimidation;

  124  assault or battery on a law enforcement officer; assault or

  125  battery on juvenile probation officer, or other staff of a

  126  detention center or commitment facility, or a staff member of a

  127  commitment facility, or health services personnel; assault or

  128  battery on a person 65 years of age or older; robbery; burglary;

  129  carjacking; or resisting an officer with violence;

  130         4. Kidnapping, false imprisonment, human trafficking, or

  131  human smuggling;

  132         5. Possession of a firearm or ammunition by a felon,

  133  violent career criminal, or person subject to an injunction

  134  against committing acts of domestic violence, stalking, or

  135  cyberstalking;

  136         6. Sexual battery; indecent, lewd, or lascivious touching;

  137  exposure of sexual organs; incest; luring or enticing a child;

  138  or child pornography;

  139         7. Abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an elderly person or

  140  disabled adult;

  141         8. Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;

  142         9. Arson; riot, aggravated riot, inciting a riot, or

  143  aggravated inciting a riot; or a burglary or theft during a

  144  riot;

  145         10. Escape; tampering or retaliating against a witness,

  146  victim, or informant; destruction of evidence; or tampering with

  147  a jury;

  148         11. Any offense committed for the purpose of benefitting,

  149  promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang;

  150         12. Trafficking in a controlled substance, including

  151  conspiracy to engage in trafficking in a controlled substance;

  152         13. Racketeering; or

  153         14. Failure to appear at required court proceedings while

  154  on bail.



Now, you may read through this list, nodding your head in agreement that anyone who commits a violent crime is a danger to our society and should be locked away. However, the legal system was designed so everyone is viewed as INNOCENT until proven guilty. This method enables the law to detain people who have not been charged with a crime and may be innocent.

Read the list a bit closer, and you will notice there are non-violent offenses that could land you in jail without bail. Inciting or participating in a riot means you are guilty until proven innocent. There WILL be riots after the election regardless of who wins, and everyone who participates may be held. You are unwise if you believe this will only benefit your political party. All the new arrivals to Florida could flip it blue, and “riots” like the Black Lives Matter wave will be considered OK, as the blue states deemed them, while conservative rallies will lead to domestic terrorism charges.

Conspiracy is also on the list if you read it carefully. So, if they simply THINK you may have committed a drug-related crime, you will be locked away until a judge can hear your case. We know that three-letter agencies have planted drugs on innocent people in the past to get that conviction. They do not even need evidence, as this is opening Pandora’s box to permit the government to detain citizens before trial.

Look at what happened over COVID. The courts closed due to the pandemic, and people living in states that did not offer bail were stuck behind bars for months until a judge could take their case. In New Jersey, for example, people awaiting trial were not even permitted to go outside for months on end, and the time they spent awaiting trial was not reduced from their sentence if found guilty. The judge is not required to take your case immediately, and they could potentially delay it for as long as possible, as they did during COVID.

There is a grave danger in handing over this power to the government.