State House panel gives blessing to 'Caitlin's Law' bail restrictions

Wednesday, February 8th 2006, 5:43 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A state House panel approves legislation named for a murdered high school teenager that would tighten bail requirements for dangerous suspects.

The meaure, named for Caitlin Wooten, now goes to the full state House for consideration. Wooten was killed September 23rd by her mother's former boyfriend, Jerry Don Savage, who then fatally shot himself near Ada.

Savage had been arrested the previous month for abducting Wooten's mother at gunpoint but posted 250-thousand dollars bail.

The bill would require judges to consider a past criminal record and other factors, such as past conduct, before setting bail.

Former federal state prosecutor Keith Ward said yesterday that the measure could face legal problems because bail isn't imposed to punish a person for unproven allegations but to ensure their appearance in court on the charges he or she faces.

Ward said the state already incarcerates too many suspects on pretrial conditions.