Celebrity bounty hunters come to Burlington County to fight bail reform

59504f6213b9a.image

Photo Credit  : Dave Hernandez for the Burlington County Times

EDGEWATER PARK — Duane “Dog” Chapman, America’s most famous bounty hunter, is coming to the New Jersey Statehouse.

And while he promised not to kick in any doors or handcuff any lawmakers, he and his wife, Beth, vowed to bring attention to what they and others in the bail bonds industry have described as a “tsunami” of crime and injustice as a result of New Jersey’s recent criminal justice reform.

“Your crime has quadrupled and we can’t afford to have it any place else,” Chapman said Sunday before speaking at a town hall meeting on the issue at Restoration Station Christian Fellowship Church off Route 130.

“When you’ve got a snake on the loose, you go after the head of it,” he said about his lobbying effort against New Jersey’s criminal justice system reform law.

The law took effect Jan. 1 and essentially shifted the state from a monetary-based bail system to using a risk assessment that takes into account factors such as seriousness of the crime, a person’s criminal record and the nature of past convictions to determine if the person is a threat to society and should be detained prior to trial.

The legislation was approved in 2014 along with a constitutional amendment permitting some defendants to be held without bail.

Supporters of the new system, including Gov. Chris Christie, say it ensures that people accused of nonviolent or petty crimes aren’t detained behind bars for lengthy periods simply because they don’t have the money to post bail. Conversely, they argue it allows judges to keep dangerous defendants in custody until trial.

The Chapmans, who appeared together on the reality television series “Dog the Bounty Hunter” for eight seasons on A&E and for three seasons on CMT’s “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt”, argue that it hasn’t worked as intended and that dangerous criminals are being released to commit new crimes and that some petty offenders are being forced to remain jailed for lengthy periods because posting bail isn’t an option.

Read the rest at http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/news/communities/edgewater-park/celebrity-bounty-hunters-come-to-burlington-county-to-fight-bail/article_dc07b802-5a00-11e7-ba99-3bac1dccccaa.html