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Report to the Court

 
 

In preparing the pretrial services report, the officer addresses two basic questions: Is the defendant likely to come back to Court and will he/she stay out of trouble? If not, what conditions should the court impose to increase the likelihood? The officer considers both danger and nonappearance factors before recommending the Court release or detain the defendant. For example, the offense with which the defendant is charged and the defendant's substance abuse history may present both danger and nonappearance considerations. Factors such as prior arrests and convictions or a history of violent behavior raise danger concerns. Factors such as the defendant's immigration status and ties to family and community may influence nonappearance. If no risk factors are evident, the officer recommends release on personal recognizance. If risk factors exist, the officer recommends either release with conditions or detention. Release conditions are tailored to the individual defendant, but always include the universal condition that the defendant not commit a federal, state, or local crime during the period of release. The officer may recommend, and the court may set, conditions to accomplish any number of goals, including prohibiting possession of weapons, contact with victims, or the use of alcohol or drugs; restricting the defendant's freedom of movement or with whom the defendant associates; and requiring the defendant to seek or maintain employment, obtain education or training, or surrender a passport. If the defendant is likely to fail to appear, the officer may recommend a financial bond, which the defendant (or the defendant's family) forfeits if the defendant fails to appear in court as directed.