Edelstein & Payne Case Results

Domestic Violence Client Released on Unsecured Bond; Case Eventually Dismissed

October 2020

Our client was held on a $8,000 secured bond based upon allegations of domestic violence and a history of prior charges, many of which had been dismissed. On his first court date after we became involved, he was not transported because of the Wake County Sheriff's new Covid-19 policy of not bringing people to court in the first 14 days of their confinement. We had met with the client at the jail prior to this hearing, and strenuously objected to the refusal to transport him. The case was set the next week. At our meeting, we learned that the accuser had falsely accused our client of domestic violence and obtained a temporary 50-B domestic violence protection order just five months prior. We went to the courthouse across the street from the Wake County Justice Center and obtained the records from that case. At the client's first hearing in District Court, we asked to unsecure the bond and release the client pretrial. The prosecutor opposed release, and started listing client's prior history, including dismissed charges. We objected to the consideration of the dismissed charges, and the incredulous prosecutor was reprimanded by the judge after trying to argue that previous dismissed charges were somehow relevant to the important questions regarding bond: a) is the defendant a threat to flee prosecution; and b) is the defendant a danger to the community. We presented the evidence of the prior false accusation which was dismissed after the accuser did not attend the final hearing, and the judge ordered the bond to be unsecured.

Three court dates later, the case was dismissed by the prosecutor because the accuser never did come to court.

This case highlights the importance of pretrial advocacy and the need to make strong arguments to reduce or unsecure a bond. It also highlights the fundamental unfairness of the cash bond system. This client did not have the resources to afford an $8000 bond. If he was not able to get out of jail pending the trial, he would have sat in jail for at least  a month, or more likely would have had to plead guilty just to get out of jail. Of course, this bail system only protects society from a "dangerous" or "flight threat" defendant if that person can't afford the $1200 bondsman fee. It's long been apparent that this country has two justice systems; one for the poor and a much more lenient one for folks with resources.

We have a history of successful advocacy in bond hearings and approach these hearings as potentially the most important event in a case. Give us a call to discuss your situation- we always offer free consultations and will generally accept a reasonable flat fee for our services.

Practice area(s): Domestic Violence

Sean Cecil

Sean is an experienced advocate dedicated to justice for all people. He believes that individual human rights outweigh the freedom to make an easy dollar.

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Edelstein & Payne has been dedicated to individual and workers' rights for over 30 years. Our attorneys have consistently been named on best lawyer and superlawyer lists, and have received numerous awards and recognitions for community contributions.

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With nearly 80 years of combined experience serving the working people of North Carolina, the lawyers at Edelstein & Payne have proven their dedication to justice for all people.