Newly Elected Judges Hope To End Cash Bail For Most Defendants In Harris County, Texas

Newly elected Democratic judges in Harris County, Texas have approved comprehensive revisions to Harris County’s bail system that could clear the way for thousands of people, regardless of ability to pay, to avoid spending time in jail while awaiting trial on minor offenses which can be devasting to the poor and working class people amounting to punishment before guilt is determined. Revisions would almost eliminate all cash bail in the county.

The county judges will present their new court protocol to a federal judge in a request backed by the sheriff, the county and poor defendants, in a historic class action over bail practices, asking that the federal judge implement the revised system as a foundation for a settlement to the lawsuit. Under the new administrative rule, 85 percent of people arrested on misdemeanors would automatically qualify for release on no-cash bonds. People arrested for bond violations, repeat drunken driving and family violence are the only exceptions and would still be required to go before a judge to determine the bail amount. Read more…

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