Republican legislators held a press conference law enforcement and a family member of a woman who died when a gun accidentally went off and a family member of a woman who died after being hit by a car. In neither case is anyone suggesting that bail would have prevented these terrible tragedies. Rather, these legislators have suggested that bail should have been used as immediate punishment before a fair trial, which is wrong.
After his gun accidentally went off, Darien Shellman called 911 and waited for police to arrive. His girlfriend had been shot. He cooperated, turned over his guns and his permits were revoked. Upon releasing Shellman, the judge noted that he was a Navy veteran with no prior criminal record who had been honorably discharged and did not raise any concerns. He had previously been in jail on unaffordable bail before the new laws took effect. As Syracuse.com reported, “Key here is that Shellman, 25, is not accused of intentionally shooting his girlfriend, Sarah Tombs, 22; nor is he accused of possessing an illegal gun. Either of those factors -- considered violent -- could have allowed a judge to keep him locked up until trial.” As reported in the Syracuse Post Standard, “The judge noted that Shellman had no prior criminal record and that he was honorably discharged from the military. He ruled it would not be unreasonable to order Shellman to pretrial release, which allows limited supervision outside jail prior to trial.” This tragedy may be resolved with any jail or prison sentence.
The driver, Jorge Flores-Villalba, arrested for allegedly crashing into and killing a woman, was released without bail but ICE arrested him and he is now in immigration detention.