Although the bails were set and most of those who were arrested had an opportunity to beg and plead for the help of their friends beforehand, it wasn’t until you went before the judge that you truly knew your fate.
For this reporter the charge was “writing under the influence,” the bail, $500 and the amount of time spent behind bars, expected to be zero, however that was before I met Judge Lyle Johnson.
Johnson decided that because I had two small children my bail needed to be $200 higher, teaching me a lesson in responsibility, however after the discovery of a third child, my husband, he decided to reduce that number by $100, taking into account the stress a husband can have on a wife.
Nonetheless, my bail was $600.
With $500 already in the bag, I knew I would be out in a matter of minutes, unfortunately not all the jailbirds were so lucky.
Matt Dominguez entered his sentence thinking he only had a couple hundred to go to reach his $1,500 bail, but after a short visit with the judge and a quick calculation adding in his receiving yards from his final season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Dominguez’s bail was readjusted and set at $2,100.
The name of the game, Jail-N-Bail and it’s an event organized by the Canadian Cancer Society and has been played since 1989.
Meagan Rocheleau, one of the organizers of the event in Moose Jaw, said this year was the first year in a long time that the event was being held in the Friendly City, but was extremely pleased with how things were shaping up.
“We have 20 jailbirds with bails ranging from $300 - $2,100, but we learned early in the day that those bails are not set in stone.”
Rocheleau said although bribery and flattery could take a defendant a long way, in the end it all comes down to the judge.
“We have already seen him hike one bail by quite a bit.”
At the end of the day, Rocheleau said the entire event was all about having fun and raising funds for great cause.
Although the Moose Jaw cancer society branch has set what Rocheleau calls an ambitious goal of $25,000, she said with the way the judge had been re-setting bails, it no longer seemed so out of reach.
“We have a great community here and the support has just been excellent.”
For the most part, Rocheleau said those brought in had 12 days to raise their bail, but there were a very special few who were surprise defendants and had to raise their entire bail while sitting in jail.
“Although I think it is fun either way, the surprise defendants are definitely under a lot more pressure.”
Johnson who volunteered as this year’s judge said he is thrilled to be helping out such a wonderful cause.
He said cancer is something that has really made itself visible in his life over the last couple of years.
“The Canadian Cancer Society is such a good cause and is continuously improving the lives of so many. Over the last couple of years I have lost three friends and I guess now I just want to do my part.”
As for preparing for his new role, Johnson said he watched a lot of courtroom dramas and Judge Judy.
For the grand total of Moose Jaw’s Jail-N-Bail, see Friday’s edition of the Times-Herald.