What is the number one problem with the Baker Act?
Hello everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome back. In this video, I want to talk about the number one problem with the Backer Act.
Somebody recently called the office. They’d been looking at the videos, and they asked me, what is the number one problem with the Backer Act? And I said it’s very simple. There is no judicial oversight, no judges watching what’s happening here.
So let me explain. When I was a young prosecutor, we’re going back to the 90s now, so I’m probably aging myself. We were required to go to the first appearance on the weekends. Here in the state of Florida, if you get arrested for a crime, any criminal offense, which requires you to be taken to the local county jail, you have to post a bond. If you cannot post a certain bond for crimes, it could be 5000, could be 10,000, could be one $1500. It’s what’s known as a scheduled bond. In other words, a bond that applies to that specific crime regardless of the individual for the most part. But, if you cannot post a bond, or perhaps you’ve been arrested for a crime that’s not bondable, it could be domestic battery here in Florida; you’re going to be held overnight. You’re not going to be allowed to post bond. But within 24 hours, you will see a judge, and a couple of things will happen at that first appearance—number one, the judge will decide if there was even probable cause to arrest you—number two, you have a right to counsel. Now, depending on your financial status, you may qualify for the appointment of a public defender. Still, you also have a right to have private counsel come before the court, argue to a judge that there was no probable cause. Argue to a judge that the bond should be low enough so you can post it and be released. Or maybe even argue that you shouldn’t have to post them on at all, and you should be released.
Here in Florida, if you get baker-acted when you haven’t committed a crime, somebody has just said you have a mental health issue and are potentially a threat to yourself or somebody else. You can get taken to a Baker Act facility. You are now in the hands of the state of Florida. And guess what? You don’t see a judge at all for a significant period of time. So if the facility has managed to convince you or coerce you to remain voluntarily, then you’re probably not going to see a judge at all, ever. Unless somebody like me comes along and drags them into court, then you get to see a judge. But if you’re there involuntarily, they get to keep you for up to 72 hours. If they don’t release you at the end of 72 hours, then they can file a petition with the court to keep you, and then four or five days later, you get to see a judge.
So you see what’s going on here. You’ve been alleged to commit a crime. You see a judge potentially within 24 hours, maybe even sooner. If you get arrested at night, you probably see a judge first thing in the morning, perhaps even less than 12 hours. You get baker-acted, and the facility gets to keep you up to 72 hours. Then they filed to keep you, which gives them another four or five days. So now, you’re spending a week at a facility, and you potentially don’t get to see a judge until a week after you have been potentially detained illegally, unlawfully, in violation of your statutory and constitutional rights.
So you see what the problem is here, right? You’re not a criminal. You potentially even went there voluntarily looking for help, or somebody says that you need help and you’re stuck there, and nobody is watching what’s going on here, which is why I have preached in most of the videos you will see on my website and online. Time is of the essence. If you have been baker-acted unlawfully in violation of your statutory and constitutional rights, then the way to remedy that situation is to get your first appearance. Get you in front of a judge as quickly as possible. That’s what I specialize in. If your loved one has been baker-acted, it’s a race to the courthouse. Once they file to keep you, you’re getting stuck there for four or five more days, even if you shouldn’t be there.
I hope that answers the question about the number one problem with the Baker Act. I don’t know if it’ll ever get fixed, but I’m here to provide relief and remedies for families. So with that said, thanks for tuning in. See you in the next video.