Bail Bond Reform in Texas
Last Thanksgiving, a forty-one-year-old highway patrol trooper, Damon Allen, was shot and killed during a traffic stop. The incident occurred in Fairfield and the suspect, Dabrett Black was released on a fifteen thousand dollars bail. What was astonishing was that the suspect was given such a low bail amount considering he had killed an officer of the law. At the time, he was charged with allegedly assaulting a Smith County deputy.
Allen’s widow, Kasey, later on, approached Governor Greg Abbott about the issue. The 48th governor of Texas later announced that it was due to her visit that he is supporting bail reforms in the next session, which begins in January. A statement released by the governor’s office claimed that a flawed system didn’t do all it could to protect Kasey who was robbed of a husband and her children who lost a father. The governor also highlighted this at a Department of Public Safety office in Waco. He was adamant that the state was doing all it could to ensure that something like that never happens again.
Following this, the judge who was presiding over the case increased Black’s bond to four hundred thousand dollars. The suspect was already out of jail and a warrant of arrest had to be issued. The judge claimed that at the time of the case he didn’t know of Black’s previous convictions. These convictions included an assault charge back in 2015. The assault was on another deputy and the judge said that if he had the information at the time, he would have handled the case differently.
The governor’s proposal is named after Damon Allen in honor of the highway patrol trooper. It aims to change the bail system. The bail system is a legal mechanism that is used to ensure that criminal defendants show up for their court proceedings. Gov. Abbott said that his proposed act would ensure that Corpus Christi bail bond amounts are set in correspondence to the threat and severity of the act committed by an accused criminal.
Expected changes due to the Damon Allen Act
The major changes his act will bring include:
- Judges and magistrates who set bail will be informed of the defendant’s full criminal history. This information will then be considered when formulating Corpus Christi bail bond amounts.
- The safety of law enforcement personnel will be a threat factor that judges will consider when setting bail.
- The state will implement a statewide case management system. This will give judges and magistrates access to all the relevant information in bail settings.
- In cases involving dangerous criminals, only judges will have the power to set bail. Low-level magistrates will not be allowed to handle such cases.
Bail reform is not new to the state of Texas. Most groups focused on criminal justice issues have been pushing for reforms to the system. The common plight is how courts set high bail amounts for poor, non-violent offenders. This forces them to stay in jail while similar defendants with access to vast resources go free. AA Best Bail Bonds is a bail bond agency that tries to avoid such scenarios by funding bails at affordable payment plans. Remember, if you need a bail bond in Corpus Christi or anywhere in Texas, AA Best Bail Bonds will have you covered.