In May 2011, Martin Diamond, 23, was released on a promise to appear in court for rape and kidnapping charges against his estranged girlfriend. The bond was originally set as a secured bond of $105,500, but was soon changed to an unsecured bond which meant Diamond could sign himself out of jail.
A “secured bond” means that the suspect has to provide some security such as a personal property which equates to the bond amount. The suspect could also hire a bail bondsman who would charge a percentage of that bond amount to the suspect and provide an insurance in order to allow the suspect to be realeased. On the other hand, an “unsecured bond” means that a suspect does not have to provide any financial or real property collateral.
Magistrate Sylvia Cherry was overseeing this process. As a result of this incident, the Magistrate overseeing the bond for Diamond was placed on suspension to allow for further investigation into this and related incidents. Judge Lisa Bell manages the Mecklenburg county magistrates and released a statement defending Cherry’s actions.
According to an article featured on the WSOC TV Channel 9 website, “Bell said a number of factors could have played a role in Cherry’s decision, including the fact that Diamond had no prior arrests or convictions, did not appear to be a flight risk, had a confirmed residence and was a student.” On the other hand, CMPD issued a statement calling the bond a “mistake”, according to local news affiliate WCNC Newschannel 36.
Understandably, the victim’s mother is outraged with this decision and is concerned that authorities will have a difficult time finding Diamond when he court date comes up.
The actions of the magistrate can often have significant impact a case regardless of the facts surrounding the matter. There are a number of motions that are filed which relate to magistrate misconduct and can have a bearing on the judge’s decisions in cases. This is yet another example of how critical the magistrate role is in the court system and it should not be taken lightly.
One area in which magistrate misconduct is especially critical is with DUI cases. The conduct of the magistrate is critical during this time and can have an impact on the outcome of the case. As a criminal defense attorney who does a considerable amount of work with DUI cases, Mr. Smith can help defend you in this area. Visit our Charlotte criminal law firm website for more information or contact us at 704-370-2828.