INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter reiterated a call he made in an exclusive FOX59/CBS4 interview two weeks ago that the entire Marion County system of justice should be reviewed and reworked.
”The courts should immediately review the Marion County court bail system. The floor should be raised for all serious bodily injury and death cases making mandatory and non-suspended bail,” Carter told reporters at the Indiana State Police Museum Thursday afternoon. ”Judges and prosecutors alike should be accountable for objective evaluation or at least an evaluation period where they must explain their decision-making process, especially for violent felons.”
Carter was angry over the bond that released Luis Leyba-Gonzalez from pre-trial detention following a high-speed crash on Indianapolis’ eastside that killed three people.
Leyba-Gonzalez reportedly told police he was behind the wheel of a car speeding at 121 miles per hour through the intersection of E. 10th Street and Mitthoefer Road on Sept. 26 when that vehicle slammed into the car of Makayla Hawkins who was killed along with Leyba-Gonzalez’ cousin Jose and his 14-year-old brother Christian.
He’s charged with three counts of resisting law enforcement while using a vehicle and causing death, all level 3 felonies with a presumptive bond of $20,000 that can be increased due to aggravating factors such as multiple victims.
Marion Superior Judge Jennifer Harrison took into account Leyba-Gonzalez’s lack of a previous criminal history, his potential of committing another similar crime and the likelihood that he would show up for court in ordering his release on $1000 cash bond plus a $50,000 surety bond (of which the defendant must post 10 percent with a bail bond agent), even though Carter said the Marion County prosecutor sought an even more enhanced bond total.
”The prosecutor’s office asked for a higher bond. I think that bond was $80,000,” said the Superintendent. “That was from the prosecutor’s office, so that should’ve been the bond.”
In recent years, the Indiana Supreme Court led a review of the bail system in state courts to confirm it meshed with both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions that assure a defendant’s right to a reasonable bond that is intended to protect the community and encourage compliance with court dates.
Carter said perhaps the state Supreme Court should participate in any review of the Marion County court system.
”This step could theoretically slow the circular system of justice that we’re experiencing today and maybe even could be a deterrent from crime being committed in the first place,” Carter said.
Carter told reporters his agency could provide a list of offenders in Marion County who were out on bond while committing another crime.
The Superintendent said he was not pointing fingers at any particular elected or appointed official as he called for the review, though he suggested several branches of Marion County government could use additional resources.
”We should conduct a staffing study to objectively evaluate shortages within the Marion County Jail, within the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, and the judiciary,” Carter said.