History of Bail

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The History Of Bail Bonds

Writ of Habeus Corpus: Incarceration or the bail process has a long history beginning with unlawful detainment. “The Court observed that ‘”[t]he writ of habeas corpus is one of the centerpieces of our liberties.” It is found within our Constitution’s The Eighth Amendment and is the basis for the bail system we have today:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Did You Know? A Writ of Habeus Corpus can be filed by a person who is in prison. The person in custody can challenge the legality of another person in custody with this writ. A review of the imposed sentence goes before the court. This generates an influx of petitions from inmates who feel they are wrongly accused; however, freedoms are protected under this writ. It extends to those already sentenced; they have the right to challenge their conviction from jail.

Excessive Bail Bail may seem excessive; however, bail amounts have been set by the judges of both Superior and Municipal courts. This is called the Bail Schedule. It is in accordance with the collective opinions of the judges who implement the monetary value according to the crime. Each county has its own particular bail schedule, based on criminal activities for their area; therefore, each county has some variance of a Bail Schedule.

Magna Carta The Magna Carta in 1215 A.D. became the precursor to our laws. Its format was directed at the peasantry; those with little or no say under the law, and because the power of the Bishops and Noblemen turned a blind eye to those incarcerated. These facts were addressed in the document, as well as the mandatory disclosure of the crime/charges to the individual.

“Here is a law which is above the King and which even he must not break. This reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression is a general charter is the great work of the Magna Carta; and this alone justifies the respect in which men have held it.”

-Winston Churchill, 1956

Chronology of English Laws

June 15, 1215 A.D. Plains of Runnymede: American Founding Fathers looked for a historical precedent from which to base their new system of justice. Articles of the Barons magna_carta_small Baronial stipulations, “Articles of the Barons,” ascribed by English Barons written down and confirmed with royal seal.
June 19, 1215 King John sets the seal, issues the final provisions becoming the Magna Carta.

1216 A.D. King John dies after civil war sparked by “the principal of Majority Rule” added to the charter.
1217 A.D. Reissuance of this document (King Henry III at 9 years old)
1225 A.D. Henry III takes throne at 25. Evolution of document ends.

After each issuance of the document, it was distributed to all counties so each would know the limits of his/her rights and obligations.1628 A.D.Document remains inconsequential until this date. Sir Edward Coke States, “…even Kings must comply to common law. As he proclaimed to Parliament in 1628, the ‘Magna Carta…will have no sovereign.'”1760 A.D.American colonists believe in adopting the best of the English system updating their version to include the following: “…a place where a person could rise by merit, not birth; a place where men could voice their opinions and actively share in self-government.”1765 A.D.Stamp Act: Parliament levies taxes on American Colonists to finance protection of colonies. Stamp Act taxed every document from “newspapers, insurance policies, licenses, legal writes, and even playing cards.” Colonists rebel, “no taxation without representation.” John Adams wrote, “The Revolution was in the minds of the people and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of 15 years before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.”

1775 A.D. Armed resistance broke out
1776 A.D. Colonies break with England, establish these words found in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”1779 A.D.John Adams states, regarding the new Constitution, it is, “A government of laws, and not of men.”

Foundation of current phrases:

“We the people…” This famous phrase began with a minor word change in the Magna Carta from “any baron, to any freeman.” Although, freemen were the minority in England at the time, the term would eventually extend to the larger English population. The American colonists manipulated the term liberally and created these words, “We the people…” and applies to all Americans. “due process” The Magna Carta reasserted the principle of due process by limiting the King’s power to raise funds, and to recognize ancient liberties as absolute. “majority rule” Magna Carta created an enforcement council to limit the King’s power. Oscar Pistorius’ Bail Hearing explained in this YouTube. South Africa parallels the United States’ justice system significantly. The reason bail was granted to Pistorius is explianed by South Africa’s Chief Magistrate Desmond Noir. Here is the video of his bail hearing and subsequent granting of bail for him.

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