Contact: Rep. Jessie Rodriguez
MADISON – Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek) joined her Assembly colleagues today in supporting a constitutional amendment that will give judges more flexibility when setting cash bail.
Under the Wisconsin Constitution, judges and court commissioners are only able to impose bail or other monetary conditions of release to assure an individual appears in court. In others words, the court is only able to consider whether the accused is a ‘flight-risk.’
Assembly Joint Resolution 107 (AJR 107), a proposed constitutional amendment authored by Rep. Cindi Duchow (R-Delafield) and Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), will allow judges to consider multiple factors in cases where the defendant has been accused of a violent crime, including the following:
· A conviction for a violent crime
· The probability the accused will fail to appear in court
· The need to protect the community from serious harm
· The need to prevent the intimidation of witnesses
· The potential affirmative defenses of the accused (i.e. self-defense, insanity, etc.)
“Following the tragedy at the Waukesha Christmas Parade in November, we have all heard the calls for reform to our bail conditions in Wisconsin. Every Wisconsinite is entitled to due process, but every Wisconsinite is also entitled to be able to live without reasonable fear that a violent criminal will do them harm while out on bail,” said Rodriguez. “This constitutional amendment will make a necessary change, allowing judges to consider the seriousness of the crime and the threat to the community when setting bail. I’m thankful Rep. Duchow and Sen. Wanggaard brought this important proposal before us,” concluded Rep. Rodriguez.
As AJR 107 is proposing a constitutional amendment, it will have to be considered and passed by both houses in two consecutive legislative sessions before being placed on a statewide ballot for final approval by Wisconsin voters.