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Barnes’ no cash bail bill would turn Wisconsin into New York

Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 20, 2022

A man accused of going into an ax-wielding rage at a New York City McDonald’s was released without bail — just the latest madman cheaply freed under the kind of no cash bail policies Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes wanted to bring to Wisconsin.

According to the New York Post:

An accused jilted madman who flew into an ax-wielding rage at a Lower East Side McDonald’s was released without bail at his arraignment, authorities said Sunday.

Michael Palacios, 31, who allegedly grabbed an ax and trashed the Delancey Street fast-food joint early Friday, was arraigned on fourth-degree criminal mischief and possession-of-weapons charges hours later and freed, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.

Neither charge is eligible for bail under the state’s lenient criminal justice reforms.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Palacios slammed two tables and a plate-glass partition during the early-morning rampage.

Palacios also told cops, “I have a pocket knife in my bike,” according to the complaint.

In 2019, New York dramatically limited the use of cash bail in its court system. Its use is banned for all but the most serious misdemeanors and felonies. Consequently, recidivism rates have spiked in the Big Apple, to the outrage of its citizens and even liberal Mayor Eric Adams. Last month, Adams held a press conference detailing a small group of 10 career criminals arrested nearly 500 times since the state enacted its bail reforms.

And some of the crimes are turning more and more violent. In 2020, Frankie Harris, 38, was charged with rape, strangulation and attempted murder for an East Harlem attack in which he allegedly put a 64-year-old woman in a chokehold for three minutes before pulling her to the ground and raping her, according to the New York Post. The woman died days later.

“Our criminal justice system is insane,” Adams said.

That’s just the kind of insanity Barnes, a Democrat running against Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, wanted to bring to Wisconsin.

As a state legislator in 2016, Barnes introduced legislation to eliminate “monetary bail as a condition of release for a defendant charged with” a crime. Instead of setting bail, Wisconsin courts would be “required to release a defendant before trial” unless they found “by clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant would “cause serious bodily harm to a member of the community” if released. Under the bill, however, courts could not “use the nature, number, and gravity” of the crimes in question as the sole reason to keep someone behind bars, severely limiting prosecutors’ ability to argue that the defendant would be a risk to the community.

Just like in New York, where ax-wielding violent men don’t present “clear and convincing evidence” that a defendant would “cause serious bodily harm to a member of the community.”

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