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Top Federal Lawyer Michael Leonard explains posting of property in federal bond hearings

by | Oct 22, 2023 | Federal Crimes

Top Federal Lawyer Michael Leonard explains posting of property in federal bond hearings. As discussed in prior posts, one of the early, and most important, court proceedings in many federal criminal cases is the bond/detention hearing. Quite often, the government (federal prosecutors) seek the defendant’s detention prior to trial. Indeed, in some federal cases, there is a presumption in favor of detention that the defendant must rebut. Of course, all this means that, if the District Court denies defendant release on bond and grants the government’s motion for detention, the defendant may spend anywhere from 6 months to several years incarcerated in a jail awaiting trial. For numerous and obvious reasons, that is not a result most defendants usually choose. Accordingly, the defendant, through his defense counsel, will have to make a strong showing that there is a condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the District Court that the defendant will appear (and will not flee), and will not present a danger to the community – or at least such danger can be appropriately mitigated. In order to persuade the District Court that release on bond is appropriate, the defendant may sometimes have to “post property.” What that means is that the defendant can post either his/her own property or that of someone else who agrees to do so, as security that the defendant will not flee and/or will comply with the conditions of release. The theory being that the substantial risk of losing that property will be a strong incentive for the defendant to appear in court and for trial; not flee; and to comply with the conditions of release established by the court. The party posting the property does not actually give the property over to the government. However, significantly, the posting party executes paperwork that allows the government to take the property and becomes its owner, in the event the defendant flees or potentially if the defendant does not otherwise comply with the bond conditions. Sometimes it is simply not possible for the defendant or anyone affiliated with the defendant to post property because, among other things no such property exists to post; no one is willing to take the risk to do so; or there is inadequate equity in the property such that it is insufficient to assure the District Court that something of value is actually being put at risk. All of this points to the fact that, in hiring a federal criminal defense lawyer, it is important to retain one who has deep experience with the Federal Bail Reform Act and handling bond/detention hearings. Leonard Trial Lawyers is such a law firm.

Michael Leonard

Leonard Trial Lawyers

October 22, 2023