How Can An Arthur Hearing Help Me Get Bail?
In many criminal cases, a defendant has the right to bail. This is typically an amount of money that must be posted with the court as a deposit to ensure the defendant’s appearance at trial. Bail allows a defendant to remain free–i.e., not in jail–while their criminal case is still pending.
When it comes to serious felonies like murder, however, there is a strong presumption against granting bail and keeping the defendant locked up before trial. The defendant may request what is known as an Arthur hearing to determine whether or not they should be granted bail, notwithstanding the serious nature of the allegations against them. At this hearing, a judge must determine whether there are any conditions the court could set with respect to bail that would “protect the community” and ensure the defendant’s appearance in court.
Florida Appeals Court Orders Bail Set for “Sex Trafficking” Defendant
A recent decision from the Florida Third District Court of Appeal, Hernandez v. Junior, demonstrates how seriously courts take their obligations to conduct Arthur hearings. The petitioner in this case has been charged with human trafficking–i.e., transporting children for the purpose of engaging in commercial sexual activity–which is a serious felony punishable by life in prison under Florida law. More precisely, the state charged the petitioner based on a video where she allegedly filmed a 17-year-old girl “dancing erotically.”
The trial court conducted an Arthur hearing to ascertain if there were any reasonable conditions that would justify granting the petitioner bail. The judge ultimately ordered the petitioner held without bail, finding that there was no way to “assuage the court’s concerns regarding protecting the community, and particularly the victim, from possible communication or contact from [the petitioner].”
The petitioner then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the Third District. The appellate court granted the writ and ordered the trial judge to set bail for the petitioner. Contrary to the trial court’s previous position, the Third District said the prosecution failed to meet its burden in showing there were “no conditions that could reasonably protect the community” should the petitioner remain free pending trial. Indeed, there was no testimony or other evidence offered that even suggested the petitioner was “dangerous.” Nor was there any proof the petitioner posed a particular risk to the alleged victim in this case.
Essentially, the prosecution’s case amounted to the fact the petitioner allegedly posted the “offending video” to her social media accounts and “collected a portion of the profits.” The Third District seemed to suggest this was stretching the definition of “human trafficking” past the breaking point. In any event, the Court said there was no reason to believe the petitioner posed any ongoing threat to the victim. As such, to continue holding the petitioner without any type of bail was a violation of her basic constitutional rights.
Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer Jose Baez Today
Prosecutors are often aggressive when it comes to trying to deny bail to a defendant. That is why you need to work with an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney who will be just as aggressive in advocating for your rights in court. Contact the Baez Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.