Milwaukee murder suspect was out at the time after judge reduced previous bail to $1,000

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Another suspect allegedly committed violent crimes in Milwaukee while out on bail, and it's raising questions about how bond amounts are set.

A Milwaukee man is accused of murdering two people after his bail had been significantly reduced in a previous case.

Earlier this year, Allen Grant was charged with fleeing an officer and possessing a firearm as a felon.

A judge lowered his bail from $10,000 down to just $1,000. Grant paid it and was released. Then two weeks ago he allegedly shot and killed two people.

Justice Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice who served from 1993-1998, said, "You hate getting a phone call as a judge to say somebody released on bail had committed a terrible crime."

But Justice Geske says it obviously does happen.

On July 8 of this year, Grant was out on bail when he allegedly shot and killed two people.

Of the lowered bail, Justice Geske said, "That's a substantial jump, but the judge must have thought that the defendant would be able to appear."

Under the Wisconsin state constitution right now, the primary factor for setting a bond amount is to ensure the person appears for a court date. The seriousness of the offense factors in, but even though Grant has a lengthy criminal history, Justice Geske said, "It's not how dangerous they are. That's not a factor."

This case started in March when Grant was pulled over for speeding. He fled from police, crashed, ran away and had a gun on him when he was arrested.

A court commissioner initially set his bond at $10,000, but two-and-a-half weeks later Judge Milton Childs reduced it to $1,000, which Grant paid.

Then on the night of July 8,  Grant got into an argument with his downstairs neighbor on West Carmen and allegedly shot him three or four times. Then he drove to a home on North 44th and allegedly shot a woman once in the forehead while she was on her porch.

In court Thursday, July 21, the state argued Grant's bond in the original case should be restored to the $10,000 amount.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Griffin said, "The initial bail was $10,000 in this case, I know it got lowered later. But I think at this point he's got $150,000, I believe, on the pending homicide case, so I believe it's appropriate to move the bail back to $10,000 on this case."

Grant's attorney William Rakestraw said he is unlikely to be released again before any of the cases are decided: "I would argue that any change of bail is kind of moot at this point. He's not posting bail on his homicide case. It's already $150,000."

Ultimately, the court did raise the bond back up to $10,000 for the original case, but it's an admittedly imperfect system.

Justice Geske said, "I don't know of a better system. You don't want to lock everybody up who's charged with a crime. As everybody knows, people are presumed innocent."

Sometimes other issues factor into lowering bail, like if the jails are overcrowded the court could try to alleviate that burden by making it easier for lower-level offenders to bond out.

We reached out to Judge Childs' office for an interview about the reduced bail in this case. The chief judge said they cannot comment on pending cases.

Allen Grant will have a court appearance Friday, July 22 for the two homicide cases.

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