By following money that defendants raise to post bail, New Jersey prosecutors hope they have found a weapon to help them crack down on violent street gangs, reports the Associated Press. Long common in federal courts, bail-source hearings have not been widely used by New Jersey prosecutors since they were approved by lawmakers almost three years ago. The hearings require defendants to prove that the money they post to a bond agency – typically 10 percent of the amount set by a judge – did not come from illegal sources such as theft or the sale of weapons or drugs.
Today, a Superior Court judge in Trenton has scheduled a hearing that will require Bernard “Petey Black” Green” to divulge the source of the money posted toward his $750,000 bail. Gang violence has been up in New Jersey’s major cities, and authorities have been requesting higher bails. “A lot of times people who are arrested get out on bail and are selling drugs to get more money to pay their bail, or their lawyers,” said Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer, whose city last year saw a record 31 homicides – 21 of which police say were gang-related. “Hypothetically, how does a person without a job, who doesn’t own a house or a car, put up $50,000 cash?” he said said. “It certainly is the responsible thing, and the reasonable thing, to look at the source of that money.”