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Endorsement watch: Bail matters

For only the second time this cycle, the Chron endorses a challenger to a sitting judge.

Darrell Jordan

Darrell Jordan

Harris County’s criminal courts at law are currently defendants in a lawsuit alleging that pretrial bail policies violate the U.S. Constitution. It is a serious charge, and those misdemeanor-level courts are undeniably crowded more with the poor than with dangerous criminals.

However, when she met with the Houston Chronicle editorial board, sitting judge Linda Garcia struggled to see how her court fit into this system that prioritizes wealth over innocence.

“I don’t think there’s a systemic unfairness in my court,” Garcia told the Houston Chronicle editorial board. “If I did, I would address it.”

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Garcia, a Republican, to Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 16 in 2015, and she is certainly qualified to hold the position. However, Harris County needs a judge who can see the problems clearly, and Democratic challenger Darrell Jordan is the right candidate.

Jordan was one of the judicial candidates selected by Democratic precinct chairs, as this is a new court that was created after the primary filing deadline. Here’s the revisited Q&A for Jordan, who first ran for a judicial office in 2010. I’ve written several times about the lawsuit over bail practices in Harris County. This is the only race on the ballot that is affected by that, but given this endorsement it won’t surprise me if the bail practices of the district criminal court judges are scrutinized as well.

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