Child abuse cases often have an extremely high bond. There are some cases that produce an emotional reaction that is extremely strong. Cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals and cruelty to children are cases where there is a strong presumption of guilt despite the fact that everyone should be presumed innocent, they know the reality is many presume guilt. When it comes to child abuse cases, there is a great deal of sympathy for children to the point that it clouds people’s judgment. When you have a high profile child abuse case, it’s very important to consider how it is going to impact whether a judge gives a bail bond. If the judge gives a bail bond, how is the pre-trial publicity going to impact the amount of a bond as well as the condition?
Will There Be a Change of Venue?
You also have to consider is the pre-trial publicity and the revulsion that people feel about these cases so strong in this particular case that you need to file a rare motion for change of venue. Judges do not like to do changes of venue. They would rather try to pick a jury fully knowing that there is a risk that they are not going to be able to find a fair jury rather than do a change of venue motion because it’s going to draw a lot of scrutiny for the cost alone, plus there is the expect of many of the communities might feel that their voice is being taken away when in reality, the judge is simply trying to ensure that if there is a conviction, it sticks because there is not adverse pretrial publicity to the point where someone cannot get the fair trial and then at the end of the day, judges really do want people to have fair trials.
Getting a Fair Bond
When it comes to cases involving children, getting a fair trial, getting a reasonable bond, these types of things are much more difficult than in other types of cases such as a burglary or a theft. So one of the things I would be very mindful of if a family member or someone you care about is charged with the child abuse case is the emotional content of the allegation may be such that it’s far more dangerous than a person may realize. Sometimes, people will be charged with the very serious case, yet they will have a strong sense of denial regarding the risk of conviction because in their mind, they are thinking, “Well, I know I am innocent and the truth will set me free”, the reality is the truth is dependent upon belief. What the officer investigating the case believes is going to determine whether they’re going to find probable cause.
When the state attorney is reviewing a warrant application, what they believe is going to determine whether or not they sign off on it and send it to a judge. When it comes to the judge, police is going to play a strong role. Notice how I’m saying “Belief” over and over and over again. We always have to be very mindful that what is the objective truth and what is the subjective truth are two completely different things. These types of considerations are present in any type of criminal case, however, they are magnified on a very high level when it comes to cases involving children.
Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.
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