Bail Bond Attorney Nahajski

Citing risk of flight and the heinous nature of the allegations, prosecutors convinced a judge to increase Jeremy Shaw’s bail from $1 million to $2.5 million.

According to court documents, Mr. Shaw bludgeoned a Boeing retiree to death in order to claim his house and land in an isolated area of King County. Prosecutors also charged his wife, Lorena Shaw, with criminal assistance. When investigators arrested Mr. Shaw, he was allegedly wearing a Boeing jacket which belonged to the victim.

Prosecutors asked for the bail increase because of “the chillingly cold-blooded manner in which the brutal murder of Steven Morphis, a complete stranger to Jeremy Shaw, was methodically planned for weeks and then carried out.” Additionally, investigators claimed Mr. Shaw possessed numerous false identification cards.

Pretrial Release Factors in Bellevue

“Since the beginning of the Republic, pretrial release has been a matter of money and some legal factors,” observed Bellevue criminal defense attorney Lennard A. Nahajski.” But now, more people are questioning this process, he added. Like many other states, Washington basically has a hybrid financial/factor and pretrial release program.

The Eighth Amendment states that reasonable bail must be available in criminal cases. Courts have generally interpreted this brief invective as involving a number of factors. Some of them include:

  • Severity of the offense,
  • The defendant’s flight risk,
  • Possible harm to the community, and
  • Amount of evidence against the defendant.


The Shaw case involved those first two factors.

The possible harm to the community could be a specific threat to alleged victims or possible witnesses. It could also be a behavioral thing, such as a DUI with serious bodily injury. As for the amount of evidence, there is a presumption that defendants will flee if the evidence against them is particularly strong.

Bail is never a punishment, Mr. Nahajski explained. In the Shaw case, there was a legitimate fear, at least among some, that this man might do the same thing to someone else.

Shortly after defendants are booked into jail, the sheriff usually sets presumptive bail amounts. Then, after a hearing, the amount could go up or down, based on the evidence.

The Mechanics of Pretrial Release in Washington

Typically, the initial bond amount is either cash or surety. So, the defendant could post the entire amount in cash or a portion of it as a surety. The county collects cash bonds and refund the money, or most of the money, when the case is over. Or, the defendant could hire a bonding company to write a surety bond. These companies usually charge between 10 and 15 percent of the cash bond amount.

King County, like most other jurisdictions, also has a pretrial release program. In 2017, an advocacy group gave Washington’s pretrial release program a “C.” Generally, if the defendant has no criminal record and is not charged with a violent crime, pretrial release is available. In other cases, it may be denied.

Bother cash/surety and pretrial release usually involve conditions. That usually means monthly check-ins and other offense-specific conditions, like drug tests or an Ignition Interlock Device. IIDs prevent cars from starting if the drivers have BACs above a certain level, which is usually .04.