Bill Would Change Who Sets Bond for Certain Crimes in NC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —  A new bill could change how bonds are set for certain violent criminals. 

It comes as law enforcement and elected officials call for action on repeat offenders being released from jail on too low of a bond. 

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather said House Bill 813 or the Pre – Trial Integrity Act would not allow a magistrate to set bonds for certain crimes – instead  a judge would have to. 

“It’s about raising the voices of victims and community members and making sure that they have a voice within this process,” Merriweather said. 

Merriweather said that would mean more accountability in the courtroom. 

“Right now in front of a magistrate that’s something that does not happen in the open public. There’s no prosecutor there, there’s no attorney for the defense there and certainly there’s no victim of crime there or the family of a victim that has been threatened by violent crime,” Merriweather said. 

Under the bill a judge would set bond on more serious charges like rape, kidnapping and murder, taking into account a defendant’s previous criminal history. 

“It has an impact on people’s faith in this system to bring accountability to their communities,” Merriweather said. 

A move Merriweather said would be a step forward in ensuring integrity in the criminal justice system. 

“We know the victims of crime deserve it.”