SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - The first time Peter Rauch was released on bail after allegedly injuring 18-year-old Seth Collier in a hit-and-run, the fired DA Investigator had just paid $10,000 in bail money.
Rauch was taken taken into custody two days later on upgraded charges after Seth died, but then paid $50,000 bail to get out of the Onondaga County Justice Center.
Rauch had another option: $100,000 bond. And Willis Knighton, a bail bondsman, was hoping for Rauch's business.
Knighton is hired to get people out of jail. The payments are not punishment, but rather insure the people go to court.
Knighton says, "We have to guarantee whether they have the employment, whether they're using their house. We have to collateralize whatever they put up, so we're guaranteeing the court that they go to court. If they don't go to court, we have to get them back in the court or we might have to pay the court and we may have to come after the individual.
No matter the outcome of the case or trial, most bail money is paid back. With bond, the person charged owes the bondsman a fee of either six, eight, or ten percent based on the total.
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