On Friday, Sept 21, 2018, the families of Kendrick Scott and Justy Johnson sat in the courtroom of Judge Donald Knapp of Wayne County Circuit Court, hoping that Kendrick and Justy, after 18 years, would at least be allowed to come home awaiting their retrial. Their hopes were dashed when Judge Knapp set bail for $250,000 and $200,000 respectively in cash, in other words, the entire amount and not the usual 10%. Whereas the 10% is something that family and friends could pool together, there was little discussion about any possibility of pulling together nearly half a million dollars.
Imran Syed, staff lawyer with the Michigan Innocence Clinic (MIC) argued that based on the shaky evidence in the original trial, the Court should set a reasonable bond. He also argued that the recommendation to the court was determined by those who knew nothing about the particulars of this case. But Judge Knapp stated that no one knows what the outcome of the retrial will be and based on the severity of the original sentence, life without parole, they could be a flight risk.
The sad fact is that Wayne County has no real case with the original testimonies which landed Scott and Johnson in jail having been recanted. They must think that by continuing the pressure that Scott and Johnson may agree to a plea before the trial begins. Plea deals always contain some admission of guilt so the prosecutor's office can preserve it's conviction. But Scott and Johnson have maintained their innocence for far too long. They know the county doesn't have a case and their defense teams are top notch.
It is sad, but typical that the prosecutor's office continues to play hard ball with people whom they must know are innocent or that, even if they believe Scott and Johnson to be guilty, they have no credible evidence to present.