American History of Bail Bonds

December 10, 2019

American History of Bail Bonds:

 As you can see, there is something of a vigilante quality to the bail system. Our present-day bail bond system was born in the late 19th century in the city of San Francisco. Two brothers began posting bail as a favor to the attorneys who drank at their father’s saloon. Once the lawyer’s clients showed up for their trial, the brothers got their money back. This led to their idea to charge a fee for the service, and when the brothers’ father died, they turned the bar into a bail bond establishment, eventually becoming millionaires through posting bail bonds. By the 1940’s and 1950’s, bail bonds across the nation were significant enough to result in suspects either sitting in jail until their trial or paying a bail bondsman. Unfortunately, with no regulations in place, exorbitant amounts were being charged, resulting in the poorest people being stuck in jail for months until their trial. Congress eventually passed the Bail Reform Act which restricted commercial bail in federal courts and established release on recognizance which allowed low-risk defendants to get out of jail—for free. 

 

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