Over the past three years, many of our criminal court judges have been setting low bail bonds, granting multiple bonds, granting numerous PR bonds, and generally making it much harder to revoke a defendant’s bond(s). We believe those reckless bail bond decisions have directly contributed to the on-going violent crime wave in Harris County (see the Fox26 “Breaking Bond” investigative series). Now that the 2022 election season is upon us, incumbent judges have finally started to set much higher bail bond amounts. Still, to keep violent defendants in jail, we need to regulate the bail bond industry and make sure they collect at least 10% of the total bail amount (a minimum fee) before writing out a surety bond. In addition, we also need to regulate advocacy groups (yes, even the non-profits) that show up at the Harris County Jail to post cash bonds for defendants charged with violent crimes.
On March 9, 2022, the Harris County Bail Bond Board considered a proposal that would have required bonding agents/companies collect a minimum fee (10% of the bond amount) before writing a surety bond for defendants charged with the most serious violent crimes. The proposed regulation failed on a vote of 4 - 4 (4 "yes", 2 "no", and 2 "abstained", with 3 board members absent). A majority vote of the board members in attendance is required to pass a new regulation.
On April 13, 2022, the Bail Bond Board will reconsider the above proposal. This time, we believe some of the previously absent board members will be present. To help resolve the violent crime wave and enhance public safety, we strongly urge all of the Bail Bond Board members to approve the 10% minimum fee proposal. This proposal reportedly has the strong support of numerous Democratic leaders, to include County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Commissioner Adrian Garcia, and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
Harris County will never be able get the violent crime wave under control if violent offenders just keep going through the spinning in/out turnstile at the county jail. We need to get these violent offenders off our streets and then keep them off our streets. Of course, if the Harris County Criminal District Courts don't address their backlog by adjudicating the in-custody cases first, the county jail is going to burst at the seams. Still, that's another problem...
For more information, please click on the links below:
About the Harris County Bail Bond Board: Bail Bond Board (harriscountytx.gov)
Related Media Reports:
UPDATE 4/13/22: Great news! The Harris County Bail Bond Board approved a new regulation today requiring all bail bond companies/agents collect a minimum bail bond fee (10% of the bond amount) before issuing a surety bond to a defendant charged with certain serious crimes. This new regulation, combined with judges setting higher bail amounts, will help keep violent offenders inside the Harris County Jail and off our streets. For more information, please see the media reports below:
FOR MORE POSTS, please routinely check HarrisCountyDemocrats.com.