Proposed Bail Settlement Would Give Defendants Phones, Free Daycare

Apr 28, 2019

posted by Nik Rajkovic -  Apr 22, 2019

A proposed settlement to change Harris County's bail system would give poor misdemeanor defendants free services and allow them to miss up to three court dates.

The settlement is meant to ensure poor defendants are not unfairly pressured into guilty pleas, but critics argue it's not at all fair to Harris County taxpayers.

“They're going to give you free cell phones. They're going pay for Uber and Lyft rides for defendants to go to court. They're going to pay for free child care while you're at court. Of course that's if you decide to go,” says KPRC 950 AM host Charles Adams, a former municipal court judge.

Defendants also would be allowed to miss multiple hearings before their bond is revoked.

“The judges show up. The prosecutors show up. Everyone has to show up because it's their job, and if you don't show up for a job you get fired. But if the defendant, the person accused of the crime that is why everyone is there, nah, they get a pass.”

Adams says the new county judge and bench judges swept into power by straight-ticket voting last year want to treat alleged criminals better than the elderly and homeless.

“If you want a cell phone I guess, just go steal something and get caught.”

Calls seeking comment from Commissioners Court were not returned Friday. However, Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a statement earlier, stressing that the proposal is preliminary, and could change.

Posted by: Pat Monks