The bail bond process in Springfield, Tennessee is unique compared with some of the other counties in the state. In Davidson County, Williamson County and several other counties in Middle Tennessee, the accused is taken before a judicial magistrate as soon as possible. The magistrate listens to some brief testimony of the arresting police officer to make an initial determination of whether probable cause exists. Once probable cause is determined, the magistrate then sets a bail bond. All those arrested are entitled to a bail bond with the exception of a capital offense. Rule 5 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure requires any person arrested shall be taken without unnecessary delay before the nearest magistrate.
Bail Bonds set in Robertson County, Tennessee are set differently. The General Sessions Judge in Robertson County personally sets the bail bond in all Class A and Class B felony charges. An accused appears before the magistrate then is held in jail until the court sets a bond amount. I recently learned of this practice in a recent case.
Here is a case study in dealing with this issue. I was hired in a sex crimes case. Made a few telephone calls to the clerk's office to discover the bond amount. No bond set. I headed to the jail. Jail visit and a trip to the clerk's office. I learned of the procedure while I was at the clerk's office. I brought a motion to reduce bond so I filed it. Finally got a bond set later in the afternoon and was later released.
I was concerned by the practice in the length of delay in setting the bail bond. Article 1 Section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution guarantees a bail bond. Rule 5 provides that an accused is brought before the judge as soon as possible. Yet a person sits in jail for hours.
On a side note, the court requires a source hearing for all bail bonds over $50,000.00.