Chase: Let’s Turn Laken Riley Tragedy Into ‘Never Again’


The tragic murder of Laken Riley, young woman in Athens, Georgia last week has thrust many failures of “social justice” reforms such as open borders and bail reform into the national spotlight again, and most painfully.

Arrest and secured bail are vital parts of the criminal justice system. Activists want arrests minimized and secured bail done away with, but we do so at our own peril.

The news and talking points regarding bail reform comes from the liberal left, the Democratic party, or Republicans who should know better by now than to support policies that are detrimental to public safety and guaranteed to fail.

Bail reform has had disastrous outcomes from coast to coast, but the results, which leave accused criminals free to prey on law abiding citizens, are reported seldom and selectively.

People from all walks of life must be held accountable for their behavior, and nothing ensures accountability as well as secured bail.

Crime is crime, it knows no limits.

Factors like income, race, gender, or immigration status have been used to excuse criminal behavior, and to make punishments lenient or nonexistent.

This has resulted in disastrous outcomes.

When there is no punishment for wrongdoing, there is no incentive to stop such behavior.

This basic principle is true for children and it is true for adults.

It’s understood by all, which is apparent when one looks at the results of the justice system and bail reform.

Regardless of the immigration status of Riley Laken’s accused killer, secured bail would have prevented her death.

He was arrested in New York and released from custody without secured bail. Because of bail reform, rarely are offenders taken into custody.

Instead they are often issued DAT’s (desk appearance tickets) which is basically a ticket and a summons to appear in court on a certain date.

Before Bail Reform, offenders accused of felony crimes such as driving without a license or endangering the welfare of a minor would have been taken into custody and arraigned before a judge who would have most likely assigned bail at a certain level.

Instead Jose Antonio Ibarra remained free the entire time, the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute and Ibarra learned he was free to do as he pleased, to whomever he pleased, wherever he pleased.

Shortly after Riley Laken’s accused killer turned in Georgia where he was issued a citation for stealing. Although shoplifting requires that the accused be fingerprinted, yet instead he was released on what is known as an own recognizance bond.

This means that in lieu of secured bail, he merely promised to get fingerprinted and to show up later for court dates. This happens more than you would think.

It’s a good old “pinkie swear” system.

If someone cannot be trusted not to steal, why would we believe he will show up in court to answer charges against him?

He didn’t get himself fingerprinted, he failed to appear on his court date, and again because he had no bondsman, no one was keeping up with him.

No one was responsible for seeing that he did what he promised the court he would do.

These actions would have been required even if the accused were a U.S. citizen. In his case, had he been prosecuted or bonded in New York, he would have appeared in court and he might well have been sentenced to jail time or probation.

If for some reason New York’s system failed, had secured bail been issued in Athens and Jose Antonio Ibarra failed to appear for fingerprinting a bondsman would have returned him to custody, either of which would have changed the tragic outcome of last week’s tragic events.

If we are not going to stop people from entering our country illegally we better make sure that those who enter and commit crimes are not released immediately, without fear of consequence.

We warned that the tragedy of Laken Riley was never an “if” but a “when.”

How about we turn it into “never again.”

Charles Chase is the vice president of The National Association of Bail Agents and the owner of All American Bail Bonds in Winder, Georgia

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