Man does 9 days in jail after arrest for trespassing at RTA hub; couldn’t afford bail

Case, and other similar ones, draw attention to state bail reform efforts.

Markcus D. Brown spent nine days in the county jail on a misdemeanor trespassing charge for wearing a hoodie and saggy pants in the Dayton RTA Hub.

It took nine days for his mom to arrange a car title loan for money to cover the $150 bail.

RELATED: Report on Ohio bail system released

“The male had his hood up and his pants were sagging. This is in direct violation of the policy and regulations that RTA has set forth,” the Dayton police report says. Brown, 21, had been previously warned in May 2016 and January 2017 about trespassing on RTA property, police reports show.

Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority Chief Executive Mark Donaghy said when people are arrested for criminal trespass at the hub, they typically are held only briefly and often they return to the transit center later that day.

“This seems like an unfortunate situation for sure,” he said after reviewing Brown’s case.

Donaghy defended the RTA’s Rules of the Road, which cover 17 do’s and don’ts such as “customers must maintain personal hygiene so as to not offend fellow patrons,” and the RTA’s Code of Conduct, which prohibit loitering, littering, horseplay and wearing hoods or masks.

Since the rules and conduct code were put in place in 2009, criminal activity dropped off and the environment on RTA property improved, Donaghy said.

Had Brown and his family been able to post bail, he would have been released from jail while he was awaiting trial.

Brown’s case highlights the need for statewide bail reform, advocacy groups say. There is no uniform statewide process for setting bail. Judges often set it based on a monetary schedule tied to the criminal charge — not the likelihood they’ll show up to court or the risk they pose to the public.

Public safety should be the guiding factor, said Shakyra Diaz, managing director for crime survivors and justice at the Alliance for Safety and Justice, a national group advocating for reforms.

Brown pleaded guilty June 13. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 21 days suspended and nine days credit, $111 in court costs and a ban from RTA buses.

Diaz said society pays the tab for Brown’s arrest, prosecution and detention and possibly for his punishment, a ban from the bus and a criminal record, which hurts his chances of getting a job.

“Do we want young people to be employed? Yes, we do. Does it jeopardize public safety when they’re not? Yes, it does,” Diaz said. “Long-term, we lose.”

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