Re: "Lower bail for DUI than for killing a dog?" (letter, 1-29).
The writer has no idea what bail is or why it is set at a particluar level.
To begin with, we have this odd thing called a Constitution. Washington has one and so does the United States. It provides that people are not guilty of anything until after they are convicted. In fact, they are actually innocent until convicted.
Secondly, the purpose of bail has never been to punish an offender. That is what sentencing is for after a person is found guilty.
Bail is the amount the court sets to ensure the person will show up for future hearings. Courts consider if the accused had warrants issued in the past because they haven't shown up. Do the accused have significant connections to the community, such as a job and family, especially one with small children making it unlikely they will run out on their trial?
Are they transient? For example, because they are in the military and subject to transfer. What is their proven criminal background? Have they had prior convictions for similar crimes? There are other considerations as well.
Bail is nothing more something to ensure the person appears in the future and the public is safe. It is not a form of punishment meted out in advance.
(Couture is a Tacoma attorney.)