When a drug suspect is arrested, the duration of immediate incarceration often depends upon the person’s ability to post whatever bond is ordered by the court. Occasionally, the requirement of posting a bond will be waived by the court, and the suspect may leave police custody immediately, with the only condition being that the person return for the preliminary hearing. In a recent case involving a suspected drug dealer, a federal magistrate overruled a state court order for a bond and allowed the suspect to be set free.
The suspect was originally charged in Madison County Court on March 5 with three counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. The substance was allegedly cocaine, and the man was ordered held in the Madison County jail unless he posted a bond of $200,000. Each charge carries a potential sentence of six to 30 years in prison. The suspect was then charged with the same three crimes in federal court in Southern Illinois. He was taken to the federal courthouse in East St. Louis for a preliminary hearing. The federal magistrate judge who conducted the hearing did not require the defendant to post a bond, and he was returned to Madison County.
The suspect was represented by a private attorney and an assistant public defender. The lawyers told the federal magistrate judge that the defendant was not a flight risk because his family lived in East St. Louis. The magistrate judge was apparently convinced. When the suspect was returned to Madison County, the state judge revoked the required bond because she was bound by the decision of the federal magistrate judge.
This case is far from over, but thanks to the efforts of his attorneys, the suspect has regained his freedom. Anyone facing similar charges may want to explore their criminal defense options.