Commander Spork (grandhoser) wrote in betterbaltimore,
Commander Spork

Bail Bonds trial.

Yesterday, a trial opened in Baltimore City that promises to be very interesting. Three owners of the 4 Aces Bail Bonds are being prosecuted for conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. The prosecution is trying to prove the defendants used a complex mix of processes that allowed properties to be used as collateral on multiple bail bonds, and allowed the defendants to reap a lot of money.

A couple years ago, the Court of Appeals set up a task force to look into bail bonds process and violations. The task force's draft report is here as a .pdf. In short, the task force recommends licensing bail bondsmen, centralizing the issuance of bail bonds, and creating very clear liens on property that has been put up as collateral.

Some, like the paper, have called the gaps in the current system "loopholes". Loopholes may be a misnomer because the issues sound like poor record keeping and lax enforcement of existing laws.

Now, to the planning part: When these bonds show up as liens on abandoned or vacant property, they will be just as difficult to remove as asbestos in the ceiling or chromium in the soil. Also, there have been many instances of similar liens costing people their property.

I bring this up on a forum about new urbanism and planning because it illustrates some of the hurdles that must be jumped to improve our town. Not only do we have to deal with crime and poverty, but we have to deal with the cobweb of existing legislation and regulations that cross the city.
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