The practice of courts assigning defendants to pretrial services, such as the program Mesa County operates, is hurting the bail-bond business, area bondsmen said.
That’s why they’re backing Proposition 102, a measure on this fall’s ballot to curb what kind of defendants are allowed pretrial services, which are designed to make sure defendants attend their scheduled court appearance and monitor them to ensure that they do.
“It’s another good example of government taking over private enterprise,” said Bob Cunningham, who has run a local bail-bonding company in Grand Junction for 17 years. “Bail bonding is a system that’s worked for 200 years.”
Beyond the bond workers, though, prosecutors, defense attorneys and others in the court system are opposing Proposition 102.
The ballot question would limit when courts can assign defendants to pretrial services, rather than requiring them to post bonds. Ten pretrial services operate in the state, with Mesa County’s program the only one outside the Front Range.
Under the amendment, only those defendants facing misdemeanor charges, and then only the first time, could be referred to pretrial services.
Approving it, however, would endanger the public and cost taxpayers more money, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said.