The Pryor Times

Local News

November 30, 2013

Bond not for punishment

PRYOR, OK — “She needs to get out of jail for counseling.”

This was the argument of the attorney representing Patsy Bates in her bond reduction hearing Wednesday.

Bates is being held in the Mayes County Jail on three separate cases; two counts of obtaining controlled substance by fraud/forgery and one count of obtaining merchandise by bogus check.

The attorney, Brendan McHugh, began by requesting that Judge Rebecca Gore clear the courtroom due to the “sensitive nature” of the defendant's bond request.

The court determined it had no jurisdiction to clear the room,  as the defendant is not a minor.

“My client was involved in the recent case in which a jailer was charged with rape by instrumentation,” McHugh said. “The incident was extremely traumatic. Ms. Bates needs medical care and counseling she cannot receive in the jail.”

He went on to say that Bates is “uncomfortable” being in the jail.

“The jailer, charged with rape, only had a bond of $50,000. We requests Ms. Bates' bond be set at $20,000 total for the three cases,” he said.

“Even though she has three separate failures to appear? And even though her attorney of record was allowed to withdraw because Ms. Bates failed to keep in contact and because she failed to meet her obligation to him?” Gore asked.

Assistant District Attorney Marny Hill said the bond should remain the same.

“If the court recalls, the state requested bond be set at $1 million for the jailer in question. Equally significant is the fact that Ms. Bates chose not to appear in court,” said Hill. “Which shows she does not take the process seriously. It can also be said that she is not necessarily truthful when she makes a promise to the court to appear on a certain day.”

Hill said being released is a great motivator for the defendant, The nature of her crimes also call into question her honesty, Hill said.

“Despite the unfortunate situation, which I am sympathetic to, I understand she has been transferred to another jail. I have also been told she is being held by herself and has no contact with other inmates. It would appear the sheriff's office is taking all necessary steps to keep her safe. It would also appear the only way to ensure her appearance in court is to continue to hold her,” said Hill.  

“Ms. Bates becomes uncooperative unless her demands, as she makes them, are met. The sheriff's office is doing everything they can to ensure her safety,” said Hill.

The defendant's attorney said bond is set to ensure appearance, not as punishment.

“She is in need of counseling. And the jailer's bond was only set at $50,000,” McHugh said again.

“Yes, but she missed three separate court dates spanning over four months. It wasn't a one-time thing,” said Gore.

“The bigger threat to society is rape  by instrumentation,” he said. “Her charges are a lot less serious. She needs to get out of jail and get counseling.”

Gore reminded McHugh that bond is set to ensure appearance in court, not to punish the defendant.

McHugh said Bates is suffering a financial hardship and will have a difficult time posting bond.

“Currently, her bonds are set at $5,000, $15,000 and $100,000,” said Gore. “After hearing both arguments today and reviewing the information, the first two bonds will remain the same. The third bond I will reduce to $75,000.”

Bates filed a civil suit against the Board of County Commissioners for negligence Tuesday.

The petition filed in the case alleges that while incarcerated at the Mayes County Jail, Bates was subjected to “unreasonable seizures in violation of the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution and applicable in this context through the 14th amendment.

“Specifically, Plaintiff was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment by Defendant [Aaron] Peters,” the petition continues. “While in custody of the jail, Plaintiff was transported to the Mayes County Medical Center for medical treatment, while in the medical center Plaintiff was derisively told by MBCC employee and agent that her boyfriend was on his way.”

The petition then states that Peters arrived shortly thereafter and that the plaintiff was sexually assaulted and raped on numerous occassions over several days.

Peters has been charged with rape by instrumentation.

“Defendant, MCBCC is liable in that the Sheriff is a final policy maker and the failure of the jail to adopt and enforce an effective policy to prevent rape by jail employees upon inmates, and failure to train and hire employees such that this failure and omission was the driving force of the unlawful conduct described above.” according to the petition.

The suit alleges that the conduct that occurred with Peters was the direct result of inadequate training and the failure to properly train employees by Mayes County. It continues in saying that punitive damages in excess of $10,000 should be assessed against Peters. Further it states that as a result of the defendant’s conduct, Bates suffered actual damages in excess of $75,000.

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