Friday, July 10, 2015

Las Vegas Man Spends 6 Years in Jail Because He Can't Raise Bail

Warren McClinton is a 48-year-old Las Vegas resident who has been behind bars for the past six years awaiting trial on seven sex-related charges. He has been in jail for six years not because he is serving a sentence. It's  because he's failed to raise the $130,00.00 bail to get out.  His bail is at such a high level because prosecutors argue he's a flight risk.

At this point, his entire 40th decade has been spent in jail, on bail.

As a matter of fact, he's already served the sentence he probably would have been handed by a judge. He's certainly been in jail longer than one of the plea bargains he was offered would have required him to serve.

McClinton has been fighting the charges since 2009, when a 14-year-old girl accused him of sexual assault. His attorney, Ozzie Fumo, told the Review-Journal that McClinton is innocent and that the case has already been dismissed, but prosecutors have nevertheless insisted on pursuing it.

The judge hearing his case, Eric Johnson, said he expressed shock toward the length of time McClinton has been in custody.

“I am very interested in considering the issue of bail,” the judge said, according to the Review-Journal. “I have real concerns with the amount of time he has been in custody. Frankly, when I got this case, I was shocked.”

It seems the criminal justice system is hell bent on keeping McClinton inside. A judge threw out an indictment against him in 2009 because prosecutors didn’t reveal DNA evidence linking two other men to the accuser. When the grand jury heard the case again with that evidence and testimony from the accuser, her mother, and McClinton, they deliberated for 30 minutes before dismissing the case.

McClinton was free for a short time, however, prosecutors  convinced a judge there was enough evidence to charge him and he was again jailed, the Review-Journal reports.

In the six years he’s been jailed, prosecutors have tried to offer him two plea deals: five years to life, then two years to life. He refused both.

His attorney described McClinton as “very frustrated” and called his high bail and continued incarceration “punishment prior to conviction.”

McClinton isn’t the only person who has spent years locked up without a conviction.

Kalief Browder spent three years jailed at Rikers in solitary confinement after being accused of stealing a backpack at 16, the New York Times reports. Browder committed suicide in June 2015.

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