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Bail lawsuit continues in Galveston County

Good.

A lawsuit alleging that Galveston County’s cash bail system favors wealthier defendants will continue after a recent ruling by a U.S. district court judge.

On Jan. 10, Judge George Hanks Jr. upheld Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison’s denial of the county’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The ACLU of Texas and the Arnold & Porter law firm filed the suit in April 2018 on behalf of Aaron Booth, 37, of Galveston, who was arrested on felony drug possession charges but couldn’t afford to post his $20,000 bail — the minimum permitted under the county’s bail schedule for that charge.

The suit accuses county officials, including local judges and magistrates as well as District Attorney Jack Roady, of operating an arbitrary, two-tiered system of justice based on wealth, in violation of the constitutional right to counsel, the right to due process and equal protection under the law.

In addition to keeping the suit alive, Hanks agreed that the ACLU sufficiently argued that under the Constitution’s 6th Amendment, Booth and all defendants are guaranteed a right to counsel at any bail hearing.

Hanks also agreed that Roady, who controls the county’s bail schedule, was liable for his role in perpetuating a wealth-based detention system. Magistrate Edison had ruled that magistrate judges “always strictly adhere” to the bail amounts recommended by Roady.

[…]

A preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for Tuesday will give the ACLU the opportunity to present evidence that Galveston County has not done enough to reform its bail system.

“It’s still our burden to show that the facts are what we’ve alleged,” [Trisha Trigilio, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas] said. “So we are presenting evidence that actually shows that an injunction is necessary.”

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said he hoped Tuesday’s hearing would be the “end or beginning of the end” to the lawsuit. Henry said the litigation has hindered the county’s bail reform efforts, and said he was pleased to see individual magistrate judges and district judges dismissed as defendants.

“We’ve been trying to get these things done for years,” Henry said. “Government moves notoriously slow, I think we’ve been about as fast as we can be.”

See here for the background. It should be clear to everyone where this is going, given the rulings in the Harris County case. One presumes it’s just a matter of how long it takes to get there.

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31 Comments

  1. “who was arrested on felony drug possession charges but couldn’t afford to post his $20,000 bail”

    A lot of times people are charged with felony drug possession because they were not caught distributing. I do not know the facts of this case but I do know that it is in the best interest of everyone involved to have as many drug dealers on the streets as possible. Good work everyone.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Harris County taxpayers are already taking action to deal with Kim Ogg giving no bail.

    https://www.click2houston.com/news/homeowner-fatally-shoots-3-men-during-home-invasion-police-said?__vfz=medium%3Dtray_notification#

    There’s only one way to be sure you don’t get victimized twice.

    The good people of Galveston better be getting some range time in now, before Hell is unleashed on their streets, too.

  3. Ross says:

    So, Paul, are you saying that anyone accused of felony drug possession needs to be locked up permanently, except, of course, the ones that can pony up $2,000 to get you to cover their bail?

    Bail schedules are an abomination, because they don’t take personal circumstances into account. If $20,000 is enough bail for someone with resources, then perhaps the guy in Galveston needs to have bail set at $5,000 or $2,500. Bail schedules are for lazy judges who hate to think, and for grandstanding DA’s.

  4. So, Paul, are you saying that anyone accused of felony drug possession needs to be locked up permanently, except, of course, the ones that can pony up $2,000 to get you to cover their bail?

    Ross, your premise is wrong both on the $2,000 and on the use of the word permanently.

    So Ross are you saying that people locked up for possessing drugs should be free to deal those drugs to our children as they come out of school. Do you think they have a constitutional right to do so?

    Ross, when you say “Bail schedules are for lazy judges who hate to think, and for grandstanding DA’s.” I agree with you to an extent. They have been abused for years by the D.A.’s in Harris County. Everyone should get a bail hearing within 48 hours.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    At the risk of losing my contrarian credentials here, I actually agree with Ross. There’s something in between just throwing open the jail house doors, and imposing an impossible bail on defendants. That happy medium requires looking at what people can afford.

    Of course, if it comes down to it and Paul and his fellow bail bondsmen don’t think someone is a good risk, then I don’t see why the public should be forced to take that risk either.

  6. Bill,

    I can promise you this. If someone has a $20,000 bail on a possession charge then either they have several prior felonies or the amount of drugs in their possession was enough for distribution.

    As to the news 2 story I bet you the 5 guys in that home invasion had a clean record. I am sure this was a first time offense. Surely, no one had a free bond.

  7. Ross says:

    Paul, all I want is fair bail amounts that take personal circumstances into account. If judges set the same bail for everyone, then they are being lazy and discriminating against poorer defendants. That was the basis of the Harris County lawsuit, and the one in Galveston.

    To turn your question around, is it OK for Joe to get out of jail on felony possession(and continue his evil ways) because he has the resources to make bail, while Jim has to sit in jail for months because he can’t afford the bail as set? Assume the same crime and the same set of facts. I’ve never argued that all defendants deserve no bail release, but that bail needs to be set individually.

  8. Darrell Jordan says:

    Rich people charged with crimes are safe poor people charged with crimes are dangerous?

    In Harris county that translated to people of color being stuck in jail while others went home.

    Who in 2019 supports a system like that? Not playing the race card I’m playing the staticis card. If you are anti bail reform you are for one system for rich and another for the poor. Money doesn’t make people safe. Bondsmen have had multiple chances to present evidence in all these lawsuits that surety bonds were better than a PR bond and they haven’t.

  9. “Paul, all I want is fair bail amounts that take personal circumstances into account. If judges set the same bail for everyone, then they are being lazy and discriminating against poorer defendants”

    Totally agree…you should have said that first.

    You said:

    “To turn your question around, is it OK for Joe to get out of jail on felony possession(and continue his evil ways) because he has the resources to make bail, while Jim has to sit in jail for months because he can’t afford the bail as set? Assume the same crime and the same set of facts.”

    “He is still in Jail because he couldn’t make bond.” That is why the lawsuit is brought.

    There should be consequences for possessing a large amount drugs. No P.R. bond or $1,000 bond for a drug dealer.

  10. Manny Barrera says:

    It is round problem, they get arrested, they post bond, they hire lawyers, they now must sell more drugs to make more money to cover all their costs.

    Many of those drug dealers, small time, sell so they can have a roof over their head and food on the table. Try being 15 years old and trying to find a job that will help with rent and food. Most of those sellers are not users.

    Anyone have a solution, we already lead the world in incarcerations, how is that working?

  11. Jules says:

    Paul, yes there should be consequences. After being found guilty through due process.

  12. Manny,

    “Many of those drug dealers, small time, sell so they can have a roof over their head and food on the table. Try being 15 years old and trying to find a job that will help with rent and food. Most of those sellers are not users”

    small time drug dealers create big time problems. Many young people find jobs to help out at home. All sellers are not users but all sellers have used. If you do not think that is true then I will not try to convince you otherwise.

    Jules,

    “Paul, yes there should be consequences. After being found guilty through due process.”

    Procedural due process is satisfied when they have a hearing on the bond amount. You get caught with 20 crack rocks you shouldn’t get a free bond. You shouldn’t get a free bond to sale more crack rocks to school children.

  13. Jules says:

    So bail is a punishment and not a guarantee to appear?

  14. Paul Kubosh says:

    Of course so is being arrested, having a record, being hand cuffs etc.

  15. Jules says:

    It’s clear that the bail schedule favors the rich and punishes the poor. No doubt you could post 20K cash bail, and could easily get a 20K bond.

  16. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul for 20 years I worked in HISD, it as not unusual for half of my students to be on probation, felonies, mostly selling drugs. I got to know many of them. I had two students picked up from my classroom for capital murder.

    I seriously doubt that you can tell me anything about them. I did not claim a solution, I said we have a problem that needs serious discussion. It is estimated that the cost is about 200 billion per year to incarcerate.

    https://eji.org/news/mass-incarceration-costs-182-billion-annually

    I understand why some people love locking them up and posting bails,

    Lesser known private players that profit from mass incarceration include bail bond companies, which collect $1.4 billion in nonrefundable fees from defendants and their families; phone companies that charge families up to $24.95 for a 15-minute phone call; and commissary vendors that bring in $1.6 billion a year.

    Anyhow, you all have a great Sunday, if you are a Republican go harass some Native Americans and tell them you need a wall so you can kick them out.

  17. Manny Barrera says:

    It seems to make you MAGA folks feel good to do evil, on the comment about about the Native Americans.

    Listen to what real Americans are like

    https://twitter.com/ava/status/1086689030899523584

  18. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    First of all, that short clip didn’t show the whole thing. The Indian guy walked INTO the crowd of Catholic kids. They didn’t approach him, he and his people approached THEM. Who was it that was seeking confrontation, again?

    https://twitter.com/mariajudy_/status/1086681831804674048?s=19

  19. Bill Daniels says:

    And here’s your Indian guy’s pal telling the kids to “go back to Europe.” So welcoming! Start about 1:25 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npX801xLSFY&feature=youtu.be

  20. Bill Daniels says:

    Here it is at 1 hour, 11 minutes in:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3EC1_gcr34#t=1h12m15s

    The Indians came in out of nowhere and walked right into the crowd of Catholic kids.

    This is contrary to the narrative I saw pushed earlier where the old Indian guy was there to honor dead Indian war veterans. Oops. That turns out to be a lie. He was there to protest whitey, same as the black guys there filming the whole thing.

  21. Bill Daniels says:

    Indian guy:

    “I put myself in front of that.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvbsqk0HOWw&feature=youtu.be

    Manny,

    Your side keeps picking the absolute worst people to make martyrs of. Street criminals, and now this guy…..a guy who walked into a crowd specifically seeking to generate a negative reaction. In this case, the reaction was, the kid he walked up to stood his ground, and the other kids jeered. Good for them.

    I respect age; I believe the elderly, most all of them, including you, have something to teach the rest of us. Having said that, this guy wasn’t there to teach, he was there to foment discord, and play his victim card.

  22. Paul Kubosh says:

    Manny,

    1/2 on probation? Then you didn’t teach in the general school school population. They remove those kids and put them in a special school and special class rooms. You make generalizations that are truly full of hate.

  23. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Here’s your poor, victimized Indian being victimized earlier. Either this guy has the worst luck in the world, or he goes out of his way to find trouble. Occam’s Razor indicates it’s the latter.

    http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/native-american-claims-racial-harassment-by-emu-students-dressed-as-indians?fbclid=IwAR2EFZcG_ES6JEcTBPc1v08huFtWavM4CTG95QJha0RDcf9ALLTlFzwbl1Q

  24. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul, you have no idea, do you think they have a special school for students on felony probation? Do you think they have special classes for them? If you do you are wrong. They go the schools they are zoned to. I had them because I was shop teacher and they did not bother me, most teachers did not want them.

    Bill when will stop spreading lies?

    I do want to remind people that you want men, women, and children shot at the border. I guess if they had a dog with them you want them to shoot the dog, also. So Bill, you do have what I would call a major bias against people of color.

    As to the video Fox is a racist organization, but even that video does not prove anything except that he took offense of his people being mocked.

    You are a racist and a bigot Bill, you respect maybe white people, and that is a maybe, cause I am sure you would have no problem having Democrats shot on sight if they disagreed with you.

  25. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill the guy beating the Drum, did not say that, go look at the video you probably just took the word of another racist or bigot like you.

  26. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill, Indians come from Indian. The people that look like Mexicans are Native Americans, the only reason ignorant white people call them Indians is because a white man thought he was in India. Even that was wrong as that stupid white man was looking for China.

    Because you probably have no idea what I am referring to, that would be Christopher Columbus, the stupid white man.

  27. Paul Kubosh says:

    Manny,

    Did you really call Christopher Columbus a stupid white man?

  28. Jules says:

    Columbus was terrible.

  29. Paul Kubosh says:

    Jules,

    You are right Columbus was an asshole.

  30. Manny Barrera says:

    Yes Paul I did, he was stupid, brave but stupid. They were looking for the land of spices which was China, but they called everything India, thus the name Indians. If he had thought he was in China, they would be called Chinese. Yes, Columbus was a stupid white man. He was not the first to think the world was round, but then again we still have stupid white men that think the earth is flat. Had he made several trips and never found the main land of America.

    But God gave him enough brains to maybe be able to seriously hurt himself.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32X88HMae0I

  31. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul, you are not suggesting Italians are not white, are you?