Harris County’s history re Bail reform is a disgrace. I spent 20 years fighting it. It took a federal lawsuit and an election defeat of all the Republican County criminal court judges to reform the misdemeanor system. The county was on the wrong side of history. Harris County spent $10 million dollars trying to perpetuate its vile systematic denial of Pr bonds on misdemeanors.
Bail reform is still needed on felony cases. If a person is charged with murder and they have money, they can make bond. If a person is charged with murder and they have no money they remain in jail. Why? Because in this county money still buys Liberty and that is wrong and indefensible. Release On bond should not be contingent on whether you are rich or poor, but it is.
The ability to get out of the jail and avoid the serious health risk posed by Covid is still based on money. If you are charged with a crime of violence and you have money you can make bond and go home and ride out the pandemic in the safety of your home. But If you are charged with a crime of violence and you are poor, you are forced to stay in the jail. You are forced to ride out the pandemic in the overcrowded, unsanitary jail with its notorious track record of providing inadequate if any health care. If you are charged with a non-capital crime and you are poor and stuck in jail, you may contract Covid and pay with your life-not for any crime, but because you are poor.
The rich get to go home and live in safety. The poor, well apparently their lives are expendable.
Granting PR bonds would allow the poor to go home to try to survive the pandemic. The steadfast refusal to accord the poor the same chance of survival as the rich is wrong. All arguments to the contrary, do not change wrong to right.
Robb Fickman, Houston