Under the Florida Constitution, somebody arrested for a crime has the right to pretrial release on reasonable conditions like bond, subject to specific exceptions under Article I, section 14. There is an exception that may apply if you’re charged with a capital or life offense, ones that can be punished by life imprisonment or capital punishment, and the prosecutor is able to show that the proof of guilt is evidence or that the presumption is great. If you’re held under this exception, you are supposed to receive an adversarial, evidentiary bond hearing known as an Arthur hearing that looks at the prosecutor’s proof to decide whether it rises to that level of proof, which is a standard stronger than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. If you have been arrested for a crime, having a knowledgeable Miami criminal defense attorney review your case is crucial. In a recent Florida appellate case related to rights under Article I, section 14, the defendant, confined in Miami-Dade County jail, petitioned for writ of habeas corpus.
The defendant was arrested for armed robbery with a firearm, and the next day, made a first appearance by video from jail. The arresting officer had set forth in the arrest affidavit that the victim of the armed robbery was an overnight security guard. The defendant had come up while she was sitting in a golf cart and put a gun to her head. The victim complied, and at that point, the defendant asked the victim if she was armed, and she said no. He took her bus pass and purse and fled.
When this armed robbery was investigated, his identity was determined from a photographic array, and he was apprehended. No bond was announced at the first appearance, which took two minutes. This meant that bond would be determined at a full Arthur hearing, in accord with standard practice. The defendant was arraigned and charged with armed robbery, a first-degree felony which is punishable with life in prison. He pled not guilty and asked for an Arthur hearing, and he objected to his detention beyond the first appearance without the court initially finding proof evident, presumption great. His objection was overruled.