Questions Over Bail Amounts Explained, Judges Create First Appearance Youtube Page
HERNANDO – Whenever someone is arrested and booked into the Hernando County Jail a suspect is immediately notified of the bail amount for their alleged offense. Once they appear before a County Judge, in what is called “First Appearance,” the suspect’s bail can be reduced, increased, converted to No Bond, or they may be released on their own recognizance (ROR). A Judge has complete discretion when considering bail amounts, which is usually contingent on a suspect’s prior criminal history.
With each arrest story published by RNRF, there are always those who question the bail amount and lash out at the Judges over it being too low or too high. But what many don’t realize is that bail amounts are already established in the Fifth Judicial Circuit and they have nothing to do with the judge or circumstance at the time of arrest.
Like most Judicial Circuits throughout Florida, the Fifth Circuit, which encompasses Hernando, Citrus, Lake, Marion, and Sumter Counties, established a uniform bail schedule. For example, if someone is arrested for felony domestic battery, the bond amount is $2,000, which is the same bond amount for someone in possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana. If a person is arrested for lewd and lascivious battery, the bond amount is $10,000, the same as when a suspect is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Crimes involving homicide, kidnapping, and their attempts can result in bond amounts ranging between $5,000 to $50,000 or higher, and in many cases bond is denied.
Hernando County Judge, Kristie Ruppe, is one of two local Judges who preside over first appearances in Hernando County. Ruppe tells RNRF that one of the first things her and fellow Judge Kurt Hitzeman did after winning last year’s Judicial election was to create a dedicated Youtube page for posting daily First Appearance hearings. Ruppe says making the hearings easily accessible for public viewing will help answer a lot of questions regarding bail amounts and other issues.
Follow this link to view Hernando County First Appearance.
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