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Judge rules property can be used to meet bond in murder case

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 8:14 PM
Last updated 8:55 PM
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A judge issued what could be a precedent-setting ruling Tuesday in Richmond County Superior Court when he decided the $30,000 bond keeping a teen in custody could be posted with property instead of cash.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree had required cash to secure the bond set for 16-year-old Verdre L. Scott, who faces charges of felony murder and a weapon violation.

Scott was arrested after the Dec. 19 death of his friend, 16-year-old Martez S. Davis. Police have said Scott and Davis were in the midst of the armed holdup of another teen, James Gibbons Jr., 17, when Davis and Gibbons exchanged gunfire.

Defense attorney Tanya Jeffords mounted the successful challenge to Roundtree’s – and his predecessor, Ronnie Strength – interpretation of the state statute governing bonds set for criminal offenses. Jeffords convinced the judge that a full reading of the statute proves that a judge has the right to determine what’s needed to secure bond – property, cash or through a professional bail bondsman.

Speaking on behalf of the sheriff, attorney Charles Lyons told Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. that Roundtree wasn’t trying to overstep his authority. The law isn’t that clear on the issue, especially for non-lawyers, he said.

It appears that the judges should specify what kind of security is needed when setting bonds, Blanchard suggested.

Roundtree was attempting to make a statement to the community following a rash of violent, gun crimes earlier this year, Lyons said.

Cash bonds were also required for several young men facing charges of aggravated assault and gang activity.

Scott is on Blanchard’s Oct. 15 trial calendar. Jeffords told the judge she needed Scott out and actively assisting in preparing his defense.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/01/13 - 09:01 pm
How Long?

It is a state law, and it's probably decades old. Hasn't this come up before anywhere in the state before now?

Riverman1 10/02/13 - 06:14 am

Sheriffs have always allowed a property bond unless it was something horrendous, so no one ever challenged their decisions when they demanded cash. But it was up to the judge always is the truth of the matter. In the future this will be interesting how it plays out since it's been settled in court, at least at this level. The sheriff may want to make a point, but the judge says, nope.

nocnoc 10/02/13 - 07:19 am
Property Bonds have been around for ages

I personally know they were used as far back as 1970's ;-).

I think this situation was more about property bond being ok in a MURDER Case.

I the last few months, one of my neighbors had his wife bail him out using a Property Bond. I understand, some punk called his wife the B**** name. It was the last thing that guy remembered until he woke up on the floor.

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