Saying he had no cash, and didn’t want to spend days in jail, a Massachusetts arrestee offered the judge his new sneakers as bail — and the judge accepted the offer. While creative judgments have been condemned in many cases, in this case, the judge seems to have decided to give a man another chance.
According to WCVB, Jason Duval faced charges in 2012, but these were due to be dismissed upon payment of court costs. When the costs continued to go unpaid, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
In court, Duval explained to Judge Douglas Stoddart that he couldn’t afford the cost, because he was going through a divorce. Stoddart offered another alternative: Duval could spend a few days in jail. Alternatively, he could come up with a solution himself.
Duval offered his sneakers as bail. He said that he’d just gotten the sneakers for Christmas, and they were worth $85. Judge Stoddart accepted, and the sneakers were turned over. A condition of bail is that Duval must pay $25 per week for four weeks, toward his debt to the court. After that, he’ll have his sneakers returned. Alternately, he can do 10 hours of community service in the same time period.
Notably, Judge Stoddart has been involved in some rather high-profile cases, and some that have beeen the center of public attention. If you recall the recent case of the woman who said she wanted to “feed the pigs,” throwing meat products at police and spreading them around a police station, Stoddart was the judge in her case, calling for a delay in arraignment until the woman could undergo a mental health examination, according to the NY Daily News.
According to the Boston Globe, Stoddart also handled a high-profile case in which a relative of President Obama faced charges for drunk driving.
In short, Judge Stoddart is no stranger to cases that are sure to be publicly known and well-turned-over in the media and by the public. In accepting sneakers as bail, he’s surely invited further speculation and comment — but the feedback appears to be mostly positive, with people appreciating the idea that a person low on funds still has an option for justice.
It’s a creative judgment most people can get behind — no one walked away without consequences, but neither was a man jailed for not being able to pay his bills.
Sneakers as bail? It’s unusual, but in this case, it perfectly fit the bill.
[photo credit: abdelazar]