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State lawmakers call for review of Marion County's 'broken' bail system, electronic monitoring

Sen. Mike Young is concerned about low bail - or no bail - for alleged offenses by people who had "just committed another crime."

INDIANAPOLIS — The system isn’t working. 

That’s the word from some Indiana lawmakers who want to take a hard look at the bail system and electronic monitoring bracelets used to keep track of suspects out on bail.   

Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, points to Marion County’s record homicide numbers this year, saying some of those crimes were committed by people who were out on bail, having been charged with other crimes. 

In the next few weeks, Young, along with fellow Republican state senators Michael Crider, Aaron Freeman, Jack Sandlin and Kyle Walker, will propose legislation to address both how the bail and bond system works, as well as the supervision of persons who are out of jail and waiting for their trial. 

“How in the world do you get out on a Felony 1 on GPS after admitting to your crime? That blows my mind,” said Savannah Thompson. 

It's the question she’s asking herself after Brandon Herring walked free Friday, with only an ankle bracelet to keep track of him. It’s a device with which Herring should be familiar.   

According to court documents, Herring was wearing one in October 2021 when he was released on bond after being charged in the August shaking death of the 4-month-old son child he shared with Thompson. 

Those same documents allege at some point, Herring removed the ankle bracelet, which eventually led to his re-arrest in October. 

But on Friday, Herring was out of jail again, wearing another ankle bracelet to wait for his February 2022 trial. 

RELATED: Shaken baby defendant released again, after reportedly cutting of ankle monitor

“She gave him a second chance to be home with his family and to be home on Christmas,” said Thompson, brushing away the tears.

"He was a ball of joy. He was great. He was the light of my day,” Thompson said of her son. 

Herring’s release for a second time after being accused in his son’s death is an example of a broken system, Young said. 

“We’re hearing these stories for a while now, about people getting out on low bail or no bail, after they just committed another crime,” Young said, pointing to the stabbing of two IMPD officers this past week. 

RELATED: 20-year-old man arrested in stabbing of 2 IMPD officers on city's near north side

Court documents show Deonatta Williams, the suspect charged in that crime, was already awaiting trial on a burglary charge from January. Investigators said Williams was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time. At the time of the alleged stabbing, Williams was facing a criminal mischief charge from last July. 

“This guy shouldn’t have been out in the street, and he was and two officers almost lost their lives because of it,” said Young. 

RELATED: Police union, community leader want new laws to fight Indianapolis violence

Young and his colleagues aren’t the only ones calling for change. Earlier this week, Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder called for a law to stop automatic bond for repeat offenders. Snyder also said judges should be required to look at the narrative about why a suspect is charged before setting a bond amount. 

“That has not been occurring," Snyder said. "That is a very simple step that can be taken to intervene in the process.”

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