Pre-Trial Home Confinement: VIP Treatment for Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), French presidential hopeful, and accused rapist, has things a little easier than most other people facing sexual assault charges in New York. He doesn’t have to wear an orange jumpsuit or stand in line for meals at the chow hall. Instead, he’s spending his pretrial period in a deluxe Manhattan apartment. You may wonder what separates him from other similar suspects—it’s his money.

As writer William Saletan writes for Slate, “Wealth and privilege have always influenced criminal justice.” This is precisely why you don’t hear of any wrongful convictions or DNA exonerations of the wealthy—because they weren’t convicted in the first place. Why? Because they could afford the best attorneys.

Initially, Strauss-Kahn wasn’t granted bail. The courts were concerned he would flee to France if released and once there he couldn’t be extradited. So he sat in jail until his attorneys came up with the current plan—home confinement with round the clock security, all paid for by Strauss-Kahn.

Now he sits in a Manhattan apartment twenty-four hours a day. He can leave for religious worship and to visit his attorneys. He’s allowed to have four visitors (in addition to his family) at any single time. Oh yeah, and he has access to a home theater, a gym, five bathrooms, water jet tubs, a skylight, and a terrace.

Apparently, some of the French were appalled when they heard Strauss-Kahn would be required to wear an electronic monitoring device. They thought this was shameful. As if sitting in Riker’s Island isn’t.

As I said, Strauss-Kahn is paying for all of this. He paid the $5 million bail too. The townhouse in which he is staying rents for $50,000 a month and the additional costs are said to be around $200,000 a month. Definitely not something the average Riker’s inmate can afford.

But the average Riker’s inmate wouldn’t require a posh townhouse or 24 hour security. For them, a monitoring bracelet would be enough. As Saletan points out, “maybe we should extend its advantages to ordinary defendants.” Maybe it could save the state some money and maybe.

It’s rare to see bail granted in a violent felony case like sexual assault. Typically the offense paired with your “flight risk” are the main contributors to bail considerations. A defense attorney can help you determine if bail is likely in your case or if you may have to wait in jail until your trial date. Unfortunately, there’s no Manhattan townhouse for the majority of us.

About David Matson