MILWAUKEE — For the second time in many months, a low bail is connected to someone who went through the Milwaukee County Courts and then went onto allegedly commit an ever more violent act.
Dionta’e Hayes, one of the teens arrested in the shooting of an off-duty police officer in Milwaukee's Third Ward, was out on a $500 signature bond for a previous crime.
The previous case against Hayes showed an officer was hurt while chasing Hayes after he left a stolen car. Court records say the officer ran after Hayes and “jumped to try and catch the defendant Hayes but was unable to hang on and struck the pavement.” Hayes was facing a felony and misdemeanor charge in that case. Now, he has been arrested in connection to the shooting of the off-duty officer, but not charged.
Back in November, Darrell Brooks, the man accused in the Waukesha Parade attack that left six people dead, was out on a $1,000 bail from a domestic violence case. But defense attorney and TMJ4 legal analyst, Jonathon LaVoy, warns the public should not think of these cases the same.
"Well, I can see how the public would see it very similarly. I think it's different though. I think every case has to be analyzed on its own merits, and I think that when setting bail, we have to use a combination of the pre-trial services report, as well as just common sense,” said LaVoy.
District Attorney John Chisholm has said the bail set for Brooks was “inappropriate low” when it was set at $1,000.
Chisholm also said that the prosecutor who asked for the low bail in his previous domestic violence case never saw Brooks’ public safety assessment that put him at high risk of re-offending.
LaVoy says, though he has not seen the pre-trial assessment report against Hayes, he believes it will likely show a low risk assessment for the 18-year-old, because the court gave him a LEVEL 1 Supervision score in the Pre-trial Services Assessment, the lowest PSA Score.
"I'm anticipating in this situation, based on his young age, and probably lack of other record, that his PSA score came out lower and pleased him at a low risk and they're there by placing them in a lower supervision level,” said LaVoy.
LaVoy warns in the state of Wisconsin that bail is to guarantee someone’s return to court, not to punish them.
“We can never predict what's going to happen in the future, we simply can't hold criminal defendants in custody when they're accused of something. There are many individuals who are not guilty of offenses. There's many individuals that don't get in trouble again and we simply can't lock everyone out that's been accused of a crime, so we have to take each individual case and analyze it separately,” said LaVoy.
In Milwaukee County, it is up the courts to ultimately decided the bail amount in a case, though they hear recommendations from the prosecution and defense. The District Attorney’s Office released a statement saying:
"The bail as it was set for Hayes is consistent with what the risk assessment tool measures about him and his lack of criminal background."