Bail Reform: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Published 2022-10-30

All Comments (21)
  • @swistedfilms
    Remember kids, if the penalty is a fine that means it's legal for the rich.
  • @JohnVanderbeck
    Why we don't have laws enforcing political ads to be true and not deceptive is beyond me.
  • @tanadarko6991
    That poor child whose life was destroyed by the accusation of stealing a backpack... legitimately brought tears to my eyes. Everything is so fucked up
  • @nethkenm
    Take it further. A ton of job applications ask whether you've been arrested. Not convicted. Arrested. Oregon outlawed the criminal history questions on job apps, but it needs to happen in all states.
  • @jgray2718
    One point on the guy who plead guilty to a burglary he says he didn't do: if he didn't do it, they didn't find the guy who did, because they convicted him for it. "Tough on crime" often means "stupid on crime" because of the excessive zeal to convict the first person who could plausibly have done it. If that's not the guy, it means you didn't catch the right guy, so not only did you hurt an innocent person, you let a guilty person go free.
  • @TheFAndison
    The Kalief Browder story is one of the saddest things in life. This actually not only killed him but his mother as well and negativity affected his siblings.

    He committed suicide, his mother was not paid the financial windfall from the wrongful conviction (which she deserved) and died from not affording treatment. Then his brother and sister were forced out of their family home. Human beings can be so evil
  • @NoMuse13
    Remember, you can be the most law abiding citizen in the world until a cop decides you aren't.
  • @Zetsuga47
    "Pleading guilty to something I didn't do just to end the suffering" sounds eerily familiar to describing torture.
  • @P5YCH0D3L1C
    The amount of times I've heard or seen a judge arbitrarily worsen a life based on as much as not liking the look on their face while their life is being trenched has always twisted at me
  • @GalladofBales
    I hate that we just let police lie on television and in the papers. I've talked to so many people, especially older people including my in-laws, who understandably fall for the police propaganda and are constantly fearful of crime and criminals. It's so deliberate how they do this, and showing people facts doesn't change their mind because you're right, the fear-mongering ads on the TV are much more compelling to many people.

    Thank you for doing stories like this, because we can't just ruin people's lives for the comfort of people who are afraid of crime. And I think people should be more afraid of the state's ability to take their rights away than of being the victim of crime. The story of that young man who was held for 3 years and missed his high school years was heartbreaking.
  • This is the only show I can wholeheartedly thank for depressing the shit out of me every episode, but while laughing.
  • @tugboat6940
    Had a $25,000 bond for second offense battery on an officer. Same officer as the first time (both times the dude tried to fight me and I beat his ass trying to defend myself. Never been arrested for anything else). I shelled out $2,500 for bail and spent $10,000 for a good lawyer and the charges were dropped because of video evidence. The first time I had a court appointed attorney who told me the video tape didn't exist so I had to take a plea. Turned out it did exist but the attorney didn't even file the paperwork to access the video. Basicly because I had to pay $12,500 for my freedom the second time. To this day I'm still labeled a violent criminal while that cop has gotten promoted to Sargent.
  • @Room142
    The second John started introducing the backpack story, I knew it was gonna be bad. I could see the welling of emotion in his face the moment he started talking about it. What a needless ruining of a young person's life.
    Edit: Also I respect John even more now (if that's even possible) after finding out he chose not to talk about that story in 2015 out of respect to the family. Mr. Oliver, you are one in a million.
  • @CaTastrophy427
    Story time! This happened to the older brother of one of my best friends, I met the guy when he was in HS and his sibling was in middle school with me, so a few years before this all happened.

    He, at age 19, was charged with the rape and impregnation of a 16 year old girl off of just a verbal description of the assailant - "light skin, dark hair, glasses, no visible tattoos, about 6 feet tall, young-ish, drives a black camaro, wore a hoodie and jeans". Most generic description you can get, and it was about an event that supposedly happened 3 or 4 months prior, meaning he couldn't easily get a solid alibi. He'd never even seen the girl before he was pulled out of a walmart, taken to jail, and shown her picture.

    He was told to sign some papers when he was booked in, told they were, among other things, giving the police the ability to contact his place of employment or education to tell them he might not be back in a short timeframe, and only later learned that he instead signed away his right to a public defender and declined an expedited trial. Bail was set incredibly high, there was no way he could pay it, so he sat in jail for 21 months before he got a hearing, and that hearing lasted barely 20 minutes before the judge was like "yeah there's no way this guy did that". Why? Because he's white, the girl was white, and the now 16-month-old twins were very noticeably dark skinned - and oddly enough, so was her 21 year old boyfriend whom she apparently started dating immediately after she turned 18.

    In that time, he lost his part-time job, lost his college scholarship, lost all the stuff he had in his college dorm, and had his car taken due to nonpayment. He couldn't get a job because he had a record of being arrested for raping a child - even though he was quickly and conclusively found not guilty. He learned that innocent until proven guilty doesn't apply even to white people if they're accused of something bad enough, as proven by him being the default punching bag of the other people held in jail, and the people detaining him were even worse. After he got out - two days before his 21st birthday, something he called the cruelest birthday gift one could get - he became an alcoholic, and a few years later died from injuries caused by crashing into a telephone pole while drunk.
  • Rest In Peace Kalief Browder. May the “people” that did this to you burn in hell, they deserve it for putting you thru it.
  • @jaydaba8289
    Thank you for mentioning Kalief Browder. His case was heartbreaking he was literally just a kid forgotten in the system and then dismissed.
  • @cyberhopser4231
    Over here in Germany, you can only be put in jail if there's either a flight risk or if there are reasonable suspicions that you might tamper with evidence or witnesses. And even then the public prosecuter has to get a detention order from a judge no later than the next day, otherwise you have to be released
  • @caseyjarmes
    That judge who raised bail 2k because the girl said “yeah” deserves to be sent to prison for the rest of his life.
  • @LadyDoomsinger
    "You're charged with a crime, you're guilty... But also presumed innocent."

    So, it's like Schrödinger's Cat. You are both guilty and innocent, until someone opens the box, and finds out you died, because you were locked in a box.
  • @Coldheart322
    The thing which gets me the most from this story is hearing about people being in jail for at least as long as they could have been sentenced for if they had been convicted. How the hell can you be held for that long without a court date?