September 17, 2021 18:00

Texas House Approves Prohibition of Bond Release for Violent Offenders

A bill prohibiting violent or sexual offenders pending trial from being let out of jail on bond reached the first legislative mile marker to become a law on Tuesday when it was approved by the Texas House on a voice vote, reports The Texan. House Bill (HB) 20 restricts the conditions under which a violent or sexual offender may receive any kind of bail. Under the bill, judges and magistrates must be given a pretrial assessment by which to make a judgment on the defendant’s likelihood to show up to appear before the court and their potential threat to public safety. The assessment must be “objective,” based on an analysis based on empirical data, and cannot “consider factors that disproportionately affect” minority groups. When making a bail assessment, a judge or magistrate shall consider the defendant’s criminal history during the previous 10 years. Anything prior to the previous decade, according to the bill, should not be considered unless it involves the movement of controlled substances or a crime that causes bodily injury. Discretion on bail bonding has been left to judges. But the recent movement toward leniency, and away from measured caution, has caused serious concern throughout Texas. According to reports from Crime Stoppers Houston (CSH), over 115 people have been killed over the past two years by alleged suspects who were released on multiple bonds.

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