The SDDP is closing its doors, but columnist Dave Baumeister reminds us why we must keep up the fight against the predatory SDGOP and the out-of-state interests who capture it for their gain:
On the CNN website, there was an interesting article today about the woes of the bail bond industry in the country. And who did they decide to focus on? Those bail bondsmen extraordinaire, the Lederman brothers.
I doubt there is anyone who reads the DFP who doesn’t know, but just in case, the chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party and former state senator from Union County, Dan Lederman, is one of those brothers referred to in the CNN article.
According to the Arizona Jewish Post, Lederman came to South Dakotas in the late 1990s specifically to get a South Dakota address so he could garner a bail bonds license, and the brothers could expand the family business to North Sioux City.
But the CNN piece does not focus on the entrepreneurial spirit of making money any way one can. Instead, it focuses how the Ledermans and other members of their industry exploit the poorest people and perpetuate their seemingly endless cycle of incarceration.
According to CNN, many efforts are being made around the country to eliminate the idea of cash bond. As it is, the bonding system can be responsible for creating more crime as the poor are put in an almost impossible position of trying to pay the 10-percent plus interest owed on a bond loan.
In essence, a bail bond is nothing more than a high-interest payday-type loan that South Dakota voters did away with in 2016.
CNN reviewed all 50 states, and it found that “the powerful industry has killed reform efforts in at least nine states, which combined cover more than one third of the country’s population.”
Now I don’t have a problem with the Constitutional right to bail; where I have the problem is not only using that system to make money, but then trying every way to influence state governments to keep bail reform from happening.
Efforts to reform this shady system wouldn’t keep people locked up and not allow them to bond out; rather, they seek other ways to pay a bond, or to eliminate the cash bonding system all together.
When a judge sets a defendant’s bail, in order to get out of jail before the trial, that bail money has to be paid. Bails are usually set high enough to make a person think twice before not showing up at court.
To get that money, a defendant goes to a bail bondsman and agrees to pay a fee (usually 10%), and the bonding office then pays the court to free the accused.
When the defendant shows up at trial, all that money is returned to the bonding office, even if the person is found guilty. So, as long as a person shows up, and most people do, the bail bondsman is not out as much as one penny.
However, the bond-borrower is still on the hook for bail bondsman’s 10%, as well as the massive interest that usually comes with it.
This creates the same endless cycle of needing money that the people of South Dakota rejected when they kicked Chuck Brennan and his ilk to the curb in 2016.
So, let me sum up: a person of limited means accused of a crime could go to jail, could have to pledge 10% to make bail, could religiously make his court dates, could be found innocent, could have an entire bail paid returned to the bondsman, and could end up driven to really commit a crime to pay his 10% and the mega-interest that goes with it.
Does anyone think that is a fair system?
And by donating lots and lots of money to politicians (mainly Republicans), as the bail industry does, and worming their way into state governments, as Dan Lederman did, companies like the Lederman Bail Bonds of Des Moines and AAA Bail bonds of North Sioux City have managed to create a problem and prevent us the people from seeking any meaningful solution.