"I've also had police say the opposite. 'Give this guy a higher bond.' It goes both ways," the magistrate said.
Police will tell magistrates they know where someone is staying and that they can be picked up easily and that they will show up for court, according to the magistrate.
"That's a different world from what we're talking about with confidential informants," the magistrate said. "Even this guy that gets drilled on a lot of these things may be informational on other things."
Police ask on a regular basis for a low bail or a personal recognizance bond in cases where a defendant is working with them, a different magistrate said.
"Either it's a confidential informant or they're going to turn state's evidence or roll over on somebody," the magistrate said.
One magistrate said they make a mark on the paper, which they alone recognize, when police ask for leniency on an offender. Cutting deals to those who provide information for police is a part of the system, the magistrate said.
"It happens when police arrest someone. He's going to be an informant for [the officer]. That's police work. I've never done it with a violent charge. Nine times out of 10, you can read the complaints and tell whether this is a violent domestic," the magistrate said.
"There are some that are just pushing, grabbing by the arm, something like that. And there are some where it is pretty graphic. A cut down the eye, busted lip. You go from there. I can't remember any of the officers asking me to go easy on anything violent."
One magistrate scrolled through the list of Clark's offenses on a computer. The magistrate said police do ask for leniency, but that had never happened with Clark in their courtroom.
The magistrate said there were only a few of Clark's cases where it looked like police might have asked for leniency.
The magistrate said they go through a person's file case by case when police ask for leniency.
"I look at what he's been charged with," the magistrate said. "They'll say, 'He's been cooperative. I wouldn't be upset if you set a ... PR bond.'"
That sometimes translates into police having a new informant, the magistrate said.
One of the two magistrates who say police asked for leniency on Clark considered what might have been going through Gravely's mind if she knew Clark was working with police.
"She's probably thinking, 'Hey, you know, if he's working for the police, what happens?' ... If he ever said to her, 'Look I work for police. You file what you want to. I'll be out of jail.' What could she do?" the magistrate asked.
Looking back on releasing Clark, the magistrate said, "It's such a common practice. We don't know what they're doing in their investigation. If someone is going to help, if they're going to help police some, you do it. Looking back on any of them, it's should you do it or not. ... And if they don't have a violent background, you do it for defendants as well as for the police. If they ask you to help out, you do what you can."
Staff writer Andrew Clevenger contributed to this report. Reach Gary Harki at gharki @wvgazette.com or 348-5163.