Live 5 Investigates: Former convict speaks in favor of stricter bail laws
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - In the South Carolina Statehouse, lawmakers are trying to pass bail reform bills to keep repeat offenders from getting back out onto the streets.
Now, an ex-convict is joining the conversation. He says if the laws had been stronger, he might not have been shot at by police more than 40 times.
“I was out on bond for 3 separate offenses,” Ron Burris said.
Twenty-five years ago, Burris ran from the cops, a lot. A drug addict. A car thief. Twice he was arrested for leading the police on a chase and twice he made bond to do it all again.
One day, following a chase, the cops finally caught up with him and unloaded dozens of bullets into his car. Burris says it never should have come to this.
“A day before those bullets went into that car I went to my bondsman,” Burris said. “That’s when I cut the home monitor off and I knew my addiction was getting out of hand and I had a really bad feeling that something was going to happen. I didn’t know what was coming.”
Burris says he went to the bail bondsman who had the monitor.
“I put out my hands and said, ‘lock me up before something bad happens,’” Burris said.
The bondsman told Burris that wasn’t possible without filing the paperwork and getting a warrant from the solicitor’s office.
Burris says he was so desperate for help that he tracked down the judge who had given him bond.
“‘Judge Guedalia I need help. I need some help today.’ By the time he told me to go back to the jail at 3:30, I had done some more drugs and was not in the same frame of mind I was in a couple of hours later,” Burris said. “I needed help right then. And there are people today who need help right now.”
Burris says bail reform would not only save criminals from society but in effect save them from themselves.
“Right now I would be trying to pass a 2 strike bail law in our state,” Burris said. “If you look at the other states that don’t even have bail laws now, crime is getting completely out of control. Eventually, that stuff’s like a cancer. Eventually, it’s going to work its way, and if we don’t put our foot down in this state eventually it’s going to worm its way right into our society.”
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