FLIGHT RISK? Judge Gives Disgraced Jussie Smollett Permission To Travel Out-Of-State

It’s no secret that ABC’s “Empire” star Jussie Smollett is in a lot of trouble.

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As reported by the Irish Examiner:

Empire star Jussie Smollett has been released from jail after being accused of staging a racially motivated and homophobic attack on himself in Chicago last month.

The 36-year-old American actor, who was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, turned himself in and was arrested in Chicago on Thursday.

Following a hearing that saw Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr set a 100,000 US dollar (£77,000) bond, Smollett walked free from the Cook County jail.

In the wake of mounting evidence, many on both sides of the aisle have suggested that his life and career are over. Just look at some of the responses on Twitter:

It must be hard to be so hated by so many, even without the pressure of an impending incarceration.

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In light of this, many were surprised to hear that Smollett was given the green light to travel.

As reported by NBC Chicago:

A judge in Chicago ruled that Jussie Smollett will be allowed to travel while the “Empire” actor is free on bond on charges that he falsely reported being attacked by two masked men.

Anne Kavanagh, a spokeswoman for Smollett’s attorneys, said one of his attorneys – who have said he is innocent – appeared before a judge Monday to make the request.

The judge decided that Smollett “can leave to meet with his lawyers in California and [New York],” Kavanagh said.

So if Jussie Smollett was granted the ability to travel, does that mean that he is not a flight risk?

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Legal advice from lawyers.com sheds some light on the issue:

In determining who’s a flight risk, the court considers each case individually. There’s no exact method for calculating a defendant’s risk of flight. Instead, the courts weigh a defendant’s reliability against factors that point to a likelihood to flee, including:

  • Nature and circumstances of the offense
  • Length of possible sentence
  • Strength of evidence
  • Family and community ties
  • Record of appearances at trial
  • Previous occurrences of fleeing
  • Financial resources
  • Defendant’s character
  • Opportunity to flee

It’s up to the government to prove that a defendant is a flight risk. A person with stronger ties to the community – a home, family and job – is viewed as less likely to flee than someone with weaker ties.

If a judge finds that the circumstances point to a defendant’s reliability and an unlikelihood of flight, then the defendant can be released on recognizance or unsecured appearance bond. On the other hand, if the judge determines that the defendant may be a flight risk or danger to the community, then release will be with conditions. For example, conditions for a defendant considered a flight risk might include surrendering his passport, wearing an electronic tether or hiring private security guards.

The fact that Smollett was ordered to surrender his passport shows that he is, indeed, considered at a flight risk. With such fame and infamy, though, where could he go? What are your thoughts?

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