Texas Conservative Review- Where is the Bail Reform We Were Promised

by Ken W. Good

Whatever happened to bail reform? At what point did the train derail? What we see happening in Harris County and New York State cannot be considered a viable or reasonable approach to reforming the current system. Instead, both employ a similar model whereby defendants are released with a free PR bond or no bond at all.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht promised we would be safer if we released the low-level grandmas from jail, but the reality is quite different. The new faces of bail reform are those of career criminals gaming the system for their own benefit. For example, Charles Barry has been convicted of six felonies and 87 misdemeanors, while also missing 21 court appearances. After being arrested for the 139th time, he was quoted as saying "Bail reform, it's lit!" and "You can't touch me! I can't be stopped!" along with "I'm famous! I take $200, $300 a day of your money...You can't stop me!"

Another poster child is Alex Guajardo of Pasadena, who was arrested and charged with a DWI-second offense, then released on a PR bond. A month later, he was arrested for assault-family violence against his wife, Caitlynne. He was released again on a PR bond and a protective order was issued for Caitlynne. Days later, Alex was arrested once more for capital murder after murdering his wife and unborn child. Guajardo told investigators that he intentionally stabbed his wife's stomach so that no one else could raise his child. A short time later, he was again given new general order PR bonds and would have been released one more time but for the capital murder charge that finally authorized detention.

The bail reform that was promised versus what we are actually getting are vastly different. The current attempts at reform may have started with a noble intent, but the reality is endangering public safety and is causing an increase in crime. Simply giving everyone a "get out of jail free card" is not reform. Can we please go back to the drawing board before more people are hurt or killed?

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