MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Another suspect allegedly committed violent crimes in Milwaukee while out on bail, and it raises questions about how bail amounts are set.
A Milwaukee man is charged with the murders of two people after his bond was significantly reduced in a previous case.
Earlier this year, Allen Grant was charged with running away from an officer and possessing a firearm as a felon.
A judge cut his bail from $10,000 to just $1,000. Grant paid it off and was released. Then, two weeks ago, he allegedly shot and killed two people.
Justice Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice who served from 1993 to 1998, said, “You hate to get a phone call as a judge saying someone out on bail has committed a terrible crime.
But Judge Geske says it obviously happens.
On July 8 this year, Grant was out on bail when he allegedly shot and killed two people.
Of the reduced bail, Judge Geske said, “It’s a substantial jump, but the judge must have thought the defendant might appear.”
Under Wisconsin’s current state constitution, the main factor in setting bail is making sure the person shows up for a court date. The seriousness of the offense is taken into account, but even though Grant has a long criminal history, Judge Geske said: “It’s not how dangerous they are. It’s not a factor.”
This case started in March when Grant was pulled over for speeding. He fled from police, crashed, fled and had a gun on him when he was arrested.
A court commissioner initially set his bond at $10,000, but two and a half weeks later Judge Milton Childs reduced it to $1,000, which Grant paid.
Then on the night of July 8, Grant argued with his downstairs neighbor on West Carmen and allegedly shot him three or four times. Then he drove to a house on North 44e and allegedly once shot a woman in the forehead while she was on her porch.
In court on Thursday, July 21, the state argued that Grant’s bond in the original case should be reinstated to $10,000.
Assistant District Attorney Jim Griffin said: “The original bond was $10,000 in this case, I know it was reduced later. But I think at this point he has $150,000, I believe, on the pending homicide case, so I think it’s appropriate to move bail back to $10,000 in this case.”
Grant’s lawyer, William Rakestraw, said he was unlikely to be freed again before one of the cases was decided: “I would say any change in bail is kind of moot to At this point. He’s not posting bail on his homicide case. It’s already $150,000.”
In the end, the court raised bail to $10,000 for the original case, but it’s an admittedly flawed system.
Judge Geske said: “I don’t know of a better system. You don’t want to lock up everyone who is charged with a crime. As everyone knows, people are presumed innocent.”
Sometimes other issues contribute to lower bail, for example if the prisons are overcrowded, the court might try to ease this burden by facilitating the release of lower level offenders.
We contacted Judge Childs’ office for an interview about bail reduction in this case. The Chief Justice said they could not comment on ongoing cases.
Allen Grant will appear in court on Friday July 22 for the two homicide cases.