COLUMBUS, Ohio — Certain repeat gun violence offenders have been given a new bond recommendation with the hope of reducing gun violence crimes in central Ohio. 

What You Need To Know

  • 2023 is on track to being one of central Ohio’s most violent years on record

  • Bond will be recommended for $400,000 for certain gun violence repeat offenders
  • The hope is that this will provide consistency in criminal justice system
  • Groups like ACLU Ohio have spoken out against the recommendation
  • Judges still have the final say for bond amounts

This year is on track to be one of central Ohio's most violent years on record. Over 88% of all homicides have been committed with firearms, according to the Columbus Police Department. 

The Franklin County Prosecutor's Office is trying to address the issue. A recommendation has gone into effect to set a bond of $400,000 for anyone charged with possessing a firearm that has a previous felony one or two for drug or violent offenses.

Anthony Pierson serves as the Franklin County prosecuting attorney deputy chief counsel, and said this recommendation is specifically tailored to target repeat offenders.

“You have individuals who are down on their luck and may get wrapped up in a new case, and they may not necessarily be prone to causing more violent crime. I want to be specific and narrowly tailored in our approach to go after individuals who are prone to commit more violence," said Pierson.

In response to the new recommendation, ACLU Ohio said: “Cash bail is not a good proxy for public safety and instead creates a two-tiered system of justice in which the wealthy can purchase their liberty and low-income people remain in jail before their trial dates.”

Pierson said that $400,000 was a number that judges could seriously consider, rather than asking for no bail. He hopes this recommendation will provide consistency throughout the criminal justice system.

“I wanted to make sure that our prosecutors are kind of uniform in their approach,” said Pierson. “I didn't think that it was fair that prosecutor 'A' got the case, asked for one amount and prosecutor 'B' got the same case and asked for a different amount. I want to get some sort of consistency within our own ranks, and I think that we understand that we can't just prosecute our way out of this.”

The Franklin County Prosecutor’s office worked with the Columbus Police Department, City Attorney’s Office and the Mayor’s Office to come up with this new recommendation. Pierson said he recognizes this will be a community effort and that the work doesn’t stop here.

“Gun violence in central Ohio takes really a community approach,” said Pierson. “Prosecution is one aspect of it, and we certainly want to do our part, but we also want to work with our community partners.”

The prosecutor's office said it plans to work together to set recommendations for other specific crimes in the near future, but judges still have the ultimate authority to set bond amounts.