Sheriff Takes Aim At Bonds For Violent Offenders - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Sheriff Takes Aim At Bonds For Violent Offenders

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Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree making good on his promise to crack down on crime. He is making it harder for anyone arrested for a gun crime to bond out of jail. WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin explains how an old state law is helping him.

It allows Sheriffs in Georgia the ability to determine if they will accept cash or property for bonds. In Richmond County, accused suspects are finding there's a high price to pay when it comes to crime.

The war against crime that is happening on the streets of Richmond County has gained momentum. The Sheriff's office is taking aim at anyone arrested and charged with using a gun while committing a crime. He explains, "we want people to think that if you fire a gun, and we've extended not just gang violence and youth violence, but if you're firing a gun at any commission we're going to take the hardest approach possible in those cases."

Alleged gang members accused in last month's shooting death of 19 year old Marquez Eubanks are getting first hand experience with the Sheriff's effort.  According to a 1977 state code, the sheriff can determine if a bond can be paid by property or cash.

In the shootings surrounding Eubanks' death, Sheriff Roundtree determined the teens family members should have to pay upward of twenty seven thousand dollars in CASH. Sheriff Roundtree says, "this case could have been a lot worse. We could have been burying six other children and I'm not going to take that lightly. I understand that people make mistakes. Juveniles make unwise decisions at times. But any time you choose to introduce a weapon in a situation there is a potential for the lose of life."

Sheriff Roundtree says his stance has been met with opposition.  But he vows to stick to his guns. "In the past people have filed lawsuits against the Sheriff to try to get the bond reduced and get the person out on a different type of bond. But our approach is going to be firm."

A lot of jurisdictions are interpreting the state code differently due to how it was written.  Sheriff Roundtree has already contacted the state Attorney General's office to suggest that the code is updated and made clear. This could alleviate the possibility of lawsuits in the future.

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