Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Editorial: Most Waco biker gang shootout arrestees still in custody.

The high bonds and lack of progress in processing their cases have threatened the Fourth Amendment and Due Process rights of the roughly 120 arrestees still in custody following the Waco biker shootout.   Given the chaos, large numbers of people involved and 9 deaths the original mass arrests can perhaps be justified.  However, once arrestees are fingerprinted, photographed, basic information, etc. is obtained, the system should move more rapidly to separate those who still need to be detained and those who can be released on reasonable bail or just released. See the Dallas Morning News' take on this issue (excerpts below):

"Three weeks have passed since the biker gang shootout in Waco that left nine dead and 18 wounded. Yet surprisingly little information has emerged to justify the incarceration of about 120 people, many of whom appear guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. . . .To gain freedom pending trial, they must each either produce a $1 million bond (of which bail bondsmen require a 10 percent payment) or persuade a judge to reduce bail to an affordable amount. In about 70 cases, attorneys have negotiated lower bonds, but only about 53 have paid and gained release. . . .If they’re not able to come forth with facts, sift nonparticipants from shooters and administer swift justice, it might be time for McLennan County to ask Gov. Greg Abbott or federal authorities for help."

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