In a recent opinion coming out of a Virginia court, the higher court disagreed with the lower court’s decision to grant a defendant bond. The lower court had previously decided that, since the defendant had been incarcerated for a long time, he should be allowed to leave prison before his trial was heard. The higher court disagreed, saying that this sole factor of time spent incarcerated was not enough reason to let the defendant out of prison earlier than originally planned.
The Facts of the Case
In September 2019, the defendant was charged, arrested, and incarcerated because of possession of a firearm after having been previously convicted of a violent felony. The defendant was first told to show up in court in October 2019; he appeared for his first hearing, and then waited for his case to be heard by the circuit court in Virginia. The defendant was called into court again in January 2020 for a bail hearing, but he requested that his hearing be postponed so that he could retrieve new counsel. Over time, the defendant kept requesting that his hearing be postponed, and his case was not heard in court until April 2021 as a result.
When the bail hearing finally happened, the defendant reassured the court that if he were released on bail, he would live with his mother and would have the ongoing support of his family. The defendant also asked the court if he could temporarily leave prison for one day the next week in order to attend the funeral of his grandmother who had recently passed away. At the hearing, the defendant’s mother testified by phone, saying she was sure that her son would “keep the peace” if he were allowed to attend his grandmother’s funeral.