Bail Up In S.F. Gun Cases; Bonders Start Price War

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The cost of being arrested with a gun in San Francisco will rise tomorrow, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Superior Court judges will double, triple and even quadruple bail for people arrested for weapons-related felonies. The bail for assault with a firearm, for instance, will jump from $35,000 to $75,000. Bail for selling or possessing assault weapons — which are turning up more and more often in gang-related shootings — will rise from $20,000 to $75,000. The last time San Francisco did a major overhaul of bails a few years back, it led to a 20 percent increase in the jail population and severe overcrowding.

Officials are concerned about the price war going on between local bail bonders. Some bonders are offering to finance or even put up most of the 10 percent of the bail fee that clients are required to pay, which makes it a lot easier for suspected bad guys to get out. “We view this as a crisis in public safety,” said prosecutor Russ Giuntini. “It almost makes bail irrelevant.”

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/06/30/BAGSE7E1V41.DTL

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