Author Topic: Bond companies sue Harris County judges, sheriff over new bail rules  (Read 244 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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Houston Chronicle by  Nicole Hensley and Mike Morris 2/14/2019

A Harris County judge has sided with lawyers for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and a slate of new Democratic magistrates vying to loosen misdemeanor bail rules this weekend, rather than grant a request of three bail bond companies that would have delayed the start of the proposed revisions .

The companies argued Thursday that the court-ordered bail reform — believed to be a key step in a lengthy legal fight over the pre-trial detention of poor, low-level offenders — would jeopardize their Houston bail bonds business.

“They won’t get to write as many bail bonds as they did before and they won’t make as much money as they did before,” said Allan Van Fleet, a lawyer representing the judges.

The bail reform is intended to relieve financial disparity among offenders. It would automatically qualify 85 percent of people arrested on misdemeanors for release on no-cash bonds, county officials have estimated. Those arrested for bail violations, repeat drunken driving and family violence would be the only exceptions.

“You got money, you can get out of jail. If you don’t, you stay there,” Van Fleet explained of the current system. “All kinds of bad things happen — you lose your job, you lose you car, you plead out to things you didn’t do just to get out of jail.”


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