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Harris County to Report on Crimes by Defendants Released on Bail

The Harris County Commissioners Court has voted to allow the Justice Administration Department (JAD) to share non-confidential information about defendants released on bail. The JAD will report on the number of defendants since January 2018 charged with a subsequent felony or misdemeanor offense while out on any type of pretrial release. This information will be Read More

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Public Research Group Studies Effect of Assistance of Counsel at Bail Hearings

Researchers have made Potter County, Texas one of the first court systems in the United States to actively test the effect of the presence of defense counsel at bail hearings. The Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI) at Texas A&M University is conducting a year-long study at the Potter County Detention Center, testing whether defendants charged Read More

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Lawsuit Challenging Harris County Felony Bail System Can Proceed to Trial

A federal judge has decided that a lawsuit challenging the Harris County felony bail system should continue to trial. The federal class action was brought by the same legal team that successfully challenged the county’s misdemeanor bail practices last year, resulting in a settlement that allows most defendants facing misdemeanor charges to be released without Read More

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Bail Reforms in Harris County Did Not Lead to Increase in Reoffenders

A year after a federal judge approved a plan to reform the Harris County bail system, allowing most misdemeanor defendants to be released on their own recognizance, an independent report concludes there has been no corresponding increase in repeat offenses. The former system required defendants, even those charged with low-level, non-violent offenses, to secure their Read More

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Online Tool Tracks Texas Jail Population That Can’t Make Bail

While defendants who can pay bail can await trial outside of jail, thousands of Texans without the means to afford bail remain behind bars. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, those incarcerated face a higher risk of becoming infected. Texas taxpayers are also penalized, as incarcerating defendants who have not been convicted costs the state approximately $905 Read More

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Court “Resets” Unduly Prolong Incarceration Before Trial

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic spike in Texas court resets —rescheduling of trials or hearings to later dates. Many criminal courts have been closed since March 24 due to health concerns, and court proceedings previously scheduled in the spring and summer have been pushed off for several months. Court resets Read More

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Cash Bail Is Often Unjust to the Poor, But What Are the Alternatives?

On any given day, more than 450,000 people across the U.S. are sitting in jail awaiting trial because they cannot afford to pay their bail. Many of them, perhaps a great majority, are poor people who find themselves incarcerated while people with financial means – who are accused of the same or even more serious Read More

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How Bail Decisions Are Being Affected By COVID-19

U.S. prisons are the world’s most crowded, housing people in close contact with each other 24 hours a day. Combine that closeness with the already limited availability of health care in correctional facilities and it’s no surprise that jails and prisons have become hotbeds for coronavirus. The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and prison administrators Read More

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Pressure Grows to Shrink Jail Populations Due to COVID-19 Infections

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is facing renewed calls to shrink jail populations to help people avoid possibly contracting COVID-19 as the state has become the nation’s biggest virus hotbed. By the end of June, more than 8,200 inmates in the Texas prison system had tested positive for COVID-19 and 79 prisoners had died of the Read More

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Texas Bail Reform Spreading to Travis and Bexar Counties

The U.S. Constitution prohibits the setting of excessive bail in criminal cases. However, countless defendants in Texas are kept in custody awaiting trial solely because of a lack of financial resources. Requiring cash bail creates a significant disparity on the basis of income, regardless of the defendant’s potential danger to the community or risk of Read More

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We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected] Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
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