Senate Bill 252, by Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, which would require judges to allow defendants to be released on Own Recognizance (OR) bonds, will be eligible for a full Senate floor vote this week. OBA expressed concerns surrounding language in the bill and is urging legislators to consider all potential ramifications of the bill.
“OBA opposes SB 252 by Sen. Roger Thompson. Language in this bill presents major concerns for Oklahoma communities, allowing defendants to be released with only a “promise” to return to court. When Own Recognizance (OR) bonds are used, defendants are less likely to be brought to justice and crime victims are revictimized when their offenders fail to appear in court. For example, those released on OR bonds in Oklahoma County in February 2019 had a failure to appear rate of 57 percent.
As our state moves toward educated criminal justice reform, we hope legislators will strongly consider the negative ramifications of this catch-and-release bill and protect our communities by voting against it. Our priority has always been, and will always be, protecting Oklahomans and this piece of legislation falls drastically short of that.”
-President of the Oklahoma Bondsman Association, Raymond Merrill