In this assignment, we will focus on this case and explore your views relating to it.
Main Topic: Pretrial Detentions Without the Opportunity to be Released on Bail
In this assignment, we will examine the case of United States v. Salerno, which deals with the pretrial detention of individuals without allowing them to be released on bail. In this discussion, you will be asked to express your position regarding the detention of an individual without bail in order to prevent them from engaging in criminal conduct at some time in the future.
Pre-trial Detentions without the Opportunity to be Released on Bail
In terms of the case United States v. Salerno, my agreement lies with the majority. The defendant, in this case, was Salerno who was the Mafia boss of the Genovese crime family (Jacobs, 2020, p.62). During the case proceedings, a wire-tap conversation was presented in which Salerno was planning to use violent actions in order to achieve his means. This tapping was approved by the court. Therefore, considering the defendant’s criminal background and voiced intentions, the judiciary concluded that if released on bail before the trial, he was capable of committing a more heinous crime and being a danger to society. Hence, the Government was allowed to detain him before trial without the opportunity to post bail. Thus, the Bail Reform Act of 1984 was held to be constitutional.
The reasoning behind such a decision is clear, though the Due Process Clause does prohibit the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, ultimately the judiciary should always pay heed to the safety of society. In order to safeguard society, crime prevention should be the primary priority in such cases. In this case, it was clear that if Salerno is to be released then he will pose a huge threat to society and various individuals. Even though Salerno argued that it was just tough talk, there were witnesses and also the knowledge of his influential background, which proved he was capable of harm. Therefore, to protect society, the judiciary came to the right decision.
The accuracy procedure by which the judicial officers determine the future danger associated with the defendants is taken care of by the provisions of the Excessive Bail Clause of the Eighth Amendment. The judicial officers are bound by statutorily enumerated factors, to pass any kind of judgment. They need to consider various things such as the nature of the charge, the circumstances in which the crime happened, the presented evidence, the background of the defendant, as well as the potential danger the community will be in if the person is released before the posting of the bail. In order to prove its case the Government must prove its stand with the aid of a clear and convincing argument. The confidence in a judicial officer’s ability to pass a fair judgment in such a case is amplified by the fact that they have to present a written statement about the facts found in the case as well as provide reasoning behind their decision to detain.
Jacobs, J. B. (2020). The rise and fall of organized crime in the United States. Crime and Justice, 49(1), 17-67.