On July 17, 2009, I appeared before Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil at Central Bond Court at 26th and California for a bond hearing on an arson case that was being covered by the local media. Click here for a list of the location of Cook County courthouses. I had appeared before Judge Ciesil many times and consider her to be smart and fair. When a judge sets a bond they have great leeway in taking various factors into consideration when deciding the amount of the bond.
Our client was charged with an arson for setting fire to a building. The purpose of the hearing was for the judge to determine what would be an appropriate bond for our client. I argued that the primary purpose of bond is to make sure that the defendant appear in Court and the amount of money my client would have to post should not be punitive. In other words, we should not punish a defendant with a bond that is so high that he is stuck in jail waiting for the case to conclude before he has been convicted of an arson and sentenced. I pointed out to the judge that our client had no previous record and no violent history. Besides, even if he was eventually convicted of arson he could still receive probation. I stressed to the judge that the defendant is innocent of the arson until he is proven guilty. I argued that the bond should not be so high as to punish the defendant before he has even had a chance at a trial. Judge Ciesel did not agree with me and set a bond of $250,000.00 was too high. The Judge was concerned about potential danger to the public.
For a Chicago Breaking News article on this case click here.
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