Detroit, MI – A visiting judge at the Wayne County Circuit Court has been letting violent and dangerous suspects go free before trial by setting ridiculously low bonds.
Judge Dalton Roberson has released three people charged with attempted murder on $500 bond so far in June, WXYZ reported.
“Simply ridiculous,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig ranted. “What message are we sending to people who engage in violent, predatory crime? The message is: it’s not that serious.”
Roberson assigned all three bonds during weekend hearings when nobody from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office was there due to staffing shortages, WXYZ reported.
Donald Smith allegedly shot a man in the neck after getting into an argument over his daughter.
Prosecutors said Smith chased the man up a flight of stairs, and pointed a gun at his head before shooting the victim in the neck, according to WXYZ.
Though he was charged with assault with intent to murder, felony firearm, and six other felonies, Roberson set his bond at “$5,000 10%”on June 2, which meant Smith, who has two prior felony convictions, only had to pay $500 to get out of jail.
Roberson arraigned Jeffrey Sims on charges of assault with intent to commit murder and unlawful imprisonment on the same day he saw Smith, WXYZ reported.
Prosecutors said Sims shoved his victim into the back of a car in gas station parking lot and beat him almost to death with a baseball bat.
Roberson gave Sims the same ridiculously low bond as Smith, WXYZ reported.
Javauna Williams went before Roberson after she was charged with assault with intent to commit murder after she set a home on fire with a woman inside it.
Williams was also set free on a $500 bond, courtesy of the visiting judge, according to WXYZ.
Roberson has seen evidence that low bonds have not been effective at getting defendants to return to court in the past.
He gave Nathan Payne a low bond in December of 2018 after he and another suspect were caught on camera violently beating a woman with a hammer, WXYZ reported.
Payne walked out of jail for $500 bond and hasn’t been seen since. He has been a fugitive for more than 160 days.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has demanded that the bond be increased for Smith, Sims, and Williams, WXYZ reported.
A judge agreed to raise Williams’ bond to $25,000 on Tuesday.
But Judge Ronald Giles refused to increase the bond for Sims, WXYZ reported.
There will be a hearing to re-evaluate Smith’s bond later in June.
Roberson claimed to have no specific knowledge about Smith, Sims, or Williams, despite the fact that all three appeared before him less than two weeks ago, WXYZ reported.
“Try to understand the impact that this is having on public safety. What if this was someone in your family?” Chief Craig asked. “It’s a mockery. It needs to stop.”