Dulos, money bail and an ongoing conversation about bond reform

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Dulos, money bail and an ongoing conversation about bond reform

When Fotis Dulos, charged in the murder of his estranged wife, was called back to court Tuesday to face the revocation of his $6 million bond, it appeared the wealthy real estate developer was about to join the legions of people — many of whom are poor, black and brown — who can’t afford to remain free while their cases are pending.

But then Dulos attempted suicide , throwing his criminal case into disarray. As Dulos remained in critical condition and a judge ordered his rearrest Wednesday, a prominent bail bondsman known for taking on celebrity clients like Harvey Weinstein pledged to cover the entirety of Dulos’ bond — now set at $6.5 million — if and when he is released from the hospital.

The Dulos case — for all its salacious, tragic detail — underscores the outsized role that money and private, for-profit bond agencies play in a cash bail system like Connecticut’s, officials say, and points to an urgent need for reform.

“Money is a stakeholder in the system,” said Alex Tsarkov, executive director of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, noting that the United States is the only country in the world besides the Philippines to have such an arrangement.

And with money at its center, the cash bail system breeds inequities.

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