Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter Tuesday to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for information regarding violent felons out on pretrial release. Johnson said he found this information to be necessary following the “inappropriately low” bail of Darrell Brooks, who is charged with killing six people at the Waukesha Christmas Parade. Just weeks before, Brooks was released on a $1,000 bail after he allegedly ran over his ex-girlfriend.
According to a press release from Johnson’s office, he is seeking “information about the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) monitoring and analyses of criminal pre-trial detention and conditional pre-trial release for individuals charged with violent felonies, and the data collection by DOJ on the violent crimes committed by individuals on pretrial release.”
“The attack on the Waukesha Christmas Parade by a repeat violent offender brought to the nation’s attention the issue of pretrial release of criminal violent offenders and subsequent violent crimes committed by such individuals,” the senator wrote. “This is not a singular issue; there are numerous reports from across the country of violent crimes committed by individuals out on pretrial release after being charged for a felony violent offense. It is unclear if DOJ currently collects information on crimes committed by individuals on pretrial release. Congress provides funding for DOJ to collect and analyze information on crime, including on pretrial release, and I urge DOJ to publish such information immediately.”
Johnson continued, saying that Brooks’ case does not appear to be isolated. He wrote, “Recent reports demonstrate similar questionable pre-trial releases of violent offenders into communities. Failure to appear for mandatory court appearances and felony bail jumping increased in recent years in multiple jurisdictions across the country.”
Johnson cited a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report that detailed increases in violent crimes. He said, “The report found that murder surged across the country by nearly 30%.” According to the letter, “This dramatic increase is the largest single-year increase in more than a century, according to the CDC.”
“The American public has the right to know how many of these crimes were committed by individuals who were out on the streets after posting meager bail, or none at all,” Johnson wrote. The requested response deadline with the information is December 28.
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