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Explaining R Kelly's Million Dollar Bond

Posted by Steven H. Fagan | Feb 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

R Kelly's Million Dollar Bond in Chicago Criminal Case Explained

A warrant for arrest was issued for singer R. Kelly from the Cook County Criminal Court. That was a "no bond" warrant. A "no bond" warrant does not mean no bond will be set once the subject of the warrant is taken into custody - the person sought for arrest is afforded a timely bail bond hearing before a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. This is exactly what happened to R. Kelly. 

The singer, accused of multiple accounts of aggravated Illinois felony criminal sexual abuse charges, appeared in front of Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke, Jr, represented by his attorney. After hearing a summary of the allegations against R. Kelly, a summary of any criminal history and any factors his attorney called to the Judge's attention, the Judge set a $1,000,000 bond. Conditions include a prohibition of any contact (lawful or otherwise) with minors, and that R. Kelly surrender his passport. 

The Purpose of Bail Bond

In short, the purpose of bond in an Illinois criminal case is to secure the appearance of the defendant as ordered by the Court to answer charges, and to secure the compliance of the defendant in order to protect members of the public, including the alleged victims. A judge can consider several factors, among which are the citizenship and place of residence of the defendant, family and other ties to the local community, the existence of any criminal background, any military service or community service activity, employment status, and finally the financial ability of the Defendant to post a bond. In this case, the Court considered the typical ages of the alleged victims, and included the condition that Kelly have no contact with minors. Additionally, the Court noted that Kelly has considerable financial resources and travels extensively, and ordered that after posting bond, Kelly surrender his passport to the possession of the Cook County Criminal Court Clerk. 

Does Kelly Have to Post a Million Dollars?

In Chicago criminal courts, indeed throughout Illinois, bail bonds can typically be either a recognizance bond requiring no deposit (an "I-bond" in Cook county) or when requiring a cash amount, most are what Cook County refers to as "D" bonds. A deposit of 10% is required, so in R. Kelly's case, he will be required to post $100,000. Unlike many other states, Illinois does not have bail bondsmen, and the $100,000, and unlike those states, the $100,000 is not forfeit unless the defendant willfully violates the terms of his bond. Almost all of the bond is available for payment of court costs, fines and possibly attorneys fees after the case is concluded. Any unused bond is returned either to the person who posts the bond. An attorney or law firm cannot use their own funds to post the bond for a Defendant, as this might give the appearance of impropriety - it is unethical for an attorney to have a personal financial stake in the outcome of a criminal case in which he represents the Defendant. But a friend, family member or the Defendant himself can certainly post the funds for an Illinois criminal bail bond. 

If you or a loved one faces Criminal charges in Illinois Criminal Courts, including courts in Cook, Lake or DuPage county, contact our office for assistance.

About the Author

Steven H. Fagan

Steve Fagan earned his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, is a member of the NCDD, NACDL, ISBA and a founding member of the DUIDLA. He is published and has taught CLE for lawyers on subjects such as sex offenses, DUI and criminal defense, focuses on trial work and Real Estate closings


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