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Arizona Court: $75M Cash-Only Bond 'Excessive'

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2011/08/04 15:30

A $75 million cash-only bond for a father accused of sexually abusing his children was unconstitutionally excessive and denied him the opportunity to be freed from jail while he awaits trial, the state appellate court ruled.

The court already had sent the case back to Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley before issuing a formal opinion last week, explaining its decision. Ainley held a status conference Tuesday afternoon but did not reset the bond.

The appellate court said only a handful of extraordinarily wealthy people would be able to afford the bond the judge had set. It was perhaps one of the largest bail amounts on record in U.S. history. In comparison, Osama bin Laden's bounty was $25 million, and BTK killer Dennis Rader's bond was set at $10 million. Jeffrey Dahmer's bail was $1 million.

"Nothing suggests that (defendant) — an unemployed man dependent upon others for financial assistance — falls anywhere near inclusion within such an elite group," the court wrote. "Although Judge Ainley ruled (defendant) was bailable, the oppressive requirements she imposed effectively constituted a denial of bail."

The defendant, a longtime Sedona resident and Brazilian national, faces two counts of continuous sexual abuse involving his children. Prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk and said his children feared for their safety. A defense attorney said his client had no plans to flee the country and has maintained his innocence.

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