Monday, January 30, 2012

Mayor Mitch Landrieu asks judges to raise bonds for offenders arrested on illegal gun charges

Laura Maggi, The Times-Picayune
Posted:  01/25/2012 10:15 PM
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu sent letters Wednesday to criminal court and municipal judges asking them to consider implementing a policy of higher bonds for defendants arrested on weapons charges as a move to stem gun violence on the streets. Landrieu pointed to a program in St. Louis, Mo., where since last May a judge has set cash bonds of at least $30,000 on young gun offenders. The St. Louis police chief has credited the policy with the city's 20 percent murder drop last year compared with 2010.
"This is about having an immediate consequence to a bad choice," Landrieu said at a news conference where he released the letters.
Jens Ludwig, a University of Chicago professor who has begun studying the efforts, said previously in St. Louis a person arrested for carrying a gun often would get out on bonds as low as $200.
But under Judge John Garvey, many offenders would have to produce a $30,000 check to bond out, which meant that most stayed in jail pending trial.

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