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Increased bail is abuse of discretion, panel rules

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A trial court abused its discretion when it raised a defendant’s bail in a meth possession case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

In Charles Cole v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1308-CR-680, Marion Superior Judge Jose Salinas initially set Charles Cole’s bond at $2,500 surety on the Class D felony charge, and the state did not object. Cole’s public defender, though, asked the court to reduce the bond to $1,500, to which the state did object.

Salinas responded to the request by giving Cole a copy of his criminal record and questioning him about his more than a dozen felony and misdemeanor convictions between 1987 and 2010, after which bond was raised to $10,000 surety.

Cole since has pleaded guilty to the charge, but the court in a footnote wrote that it granted his request to proceed with the appeal as a matter of great public interest. Judge Elaine Brown noted in the unanimous opinion reversing the increased bond that Cole argued no new evidence supported the increase and that the unusually high bail was twice as high as the maximum provided by Marion County’s local rules.

“The State does not point to any other statutory authority which would support the trial court’s order increasing Cole’s bail. The requirements for increasing bail under Ind. Code § 35-33-8-5 were not satisfied, and the trial court abused its discretion in increasing Cole’s bail,” Brown wrote for the panel that also included Judges Edward Najam and Paul Mathias.
 

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