Catch them if we can
District Attorney Seth Williams responded promptly this weekend to the disturbing Inquirer piece about criminal charges dropped against 19,000 fugitives from Philadelphia justice.
Williams said it was a mistake to drop charges involving violent offenses, and promised those would be reinstated.
But what really hit me about the original Inquirer piece was that fact that the reporters on the story seemed to have no trouble locating fugitives accused of serious, violent crimes.
And the guys on the lam seemed so unconcerned about authorities finding them that they offered on the record comment for the story.
If the cops and courts can’t manage more than a token effort to track these defendants down, maybe it’s time to bring in the guys who do: private bail bondsmen.
As authors of the story, Craig McCoy, Nancy Phillips and Dylan Purcell detailed in a piece last year, the city had a bad history with bounty hunters in the past, and that’s one reason we have the dysfunctional system we have now.
But most big cities use private bonding companies, and few have anything like the fugitive problem we do.
One thing Mayor Nutter deserves some credit for is working hard with the justice system to reduce prison overcrowding here. A similar effort should go into figuring out a way to find dangerous people and lock them up.
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