Sunday, June 15, 2008

Life is not fair

Repeat after me....."Life is not fair".

Okay then, while folks may think this is a big deal, it isn't.

If the guy had a criminal history that would be one thing, but he doesn't and he got a PR bond, shit happens. He got out a little sooner on his PR bond, big deal. This kinda stuff happens all the time. A family knows the Judge, or the DA or the Chief of Police, whatever.

It may look like favoritism, and it may have some component of it in there but to say this is a sanctionable event is stretching it some. There are many folks who dislike our Madam DA and they will scream for her head over this; but this is a non-event in my mind.

Pal of DA's son had it easier in airport gun case
Karisa KingExpress-News

A man with a close family tie to District Attorney Susan Reed received a more lenient bond than most suspects who faced the same charge he did for carrying a gun at International Airport, a San Antonio Express-News analysis shows.

Authorities followed an unusual recommendation from Reed on May 17 and released her son's friend Christopher J. Mueller from jail without requiring him to post bail. Reed later apologized, but she has faced persistent questions about whether her influence resulted in preferential treatment.

The Express-News analyzed bail bonds data and arrest records for defendants who in 2006 and 2007 faced the same charge as Mueller — possession of a weapon in a prohibited place — and found 20 defendants accused of carrying guns at the airport.

Excluding those who had prior criminal records, faced additional charges or lived outside the area, seven out of 10 were required to post bonds ranging from $5,000 to $7,500.

For Bexar County cases involving weapons in other places where they're prohibited, such as schools and churches, the newspaper also analyzed bonds data from 2005 to 2007. The findings show most people with no criminal background — about 60 percent — did not receive personal bonds.

At issue is the kind of bond Mueller received, a personal recognizance bond, which allows the accused to get out of jail without posting money up front. In exchange, defendants promise to appear in court and agree to pay a bond amount if they fail to live up to their word.
Your turn

Records show that compared with the other three defendants who also received PR bonds for carrying a gun at the airport, Mueller's was the lowest. A judge set his at $2,500, while the others faced financial penalties ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 if they failed to show up in court.

Those who were passed over for personal bonds included an Army reservist, a bank economist and a 59-year-old grandmother, all facing their first arrest.

The analysis comes after Reed recused herself from Mueller's case last week and sought a special prosecutor because her son is likely to be a witness. She has defended her actions, saying she did nothing unethical or unusual and was just acting like a mom.

Three messages were left for Reed, who did not respond for comment late last week.

Reed's son, Travis Reed, had been traveling with Mueller, a 25-year-old real estate broker, and both were preparing to board a flight to Las Vegas when security workers found a .22-caliber pistol in Mueller's backpack.

After the arrest, Reed received a call from her son and then called the prosecutor on the case. Reed recommended that he receive a personal bond.

First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said Reed's move didn't result in special treatment because Mueller, with his clean record and license to carry a gun, was a likely candidate for a personal bond.

This year, two other airport travelers with guns received PR bonds, as well as a third man who was released from jail on a personal bond after the controversy made headlines, he said.
Herberg also noted that some airport cases, most often those involving knives and weapons other than guns, don't always prompt arrests. Police frequently allow those travelers to avoid the booking process and file charges later.
“There are all kinds of discretion that takes place in these cases, from officers' discretion to prosecutors' discretion to the discretion of judges,” he said. “It depends on the circumstances.”

He said Reed and other district attorneys frequently recommend bonds, and it's not unusual, especially in small towns, for prosecutors to influence how bonds should be set when they know the suspect. If a prosecutor knows that someone poses a risk of not showing up in court, it makes sense to recommend a high bond amount, he said.

“But by the same token, if you know something good about someone, you don't discard that information and you take that into consideration,” Herberg said.