Dallas — So when does bail reform come to DFW? It’s already a thing in Harris County—only because a federal judge mandated it, but it’s started. Albeit, Harris county was probably a tad bit harsher than Dallas County but not unlike many of the surrounding counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
How is it that one can receive a $500 bond in Dallas County for possession of marijuana under 4 oz. (a class b misdemeanor) and the bond be $3,000 in Navarro County? It’s amazing that Texas has such a discrepancy in the setting of bail amounts, just between neighboring cities. Often times, one finds the highest bonds in the poorest of cities—often the small towns, like Navarro and Ellis counties. Just recently I visited a client in jail who was charged with possession of A controlled substance (Exstacy) who had a $50,000 bond. Luckily, in that case we were able to get that reduced to a more reasonable, $1,500—unheard of in the smaller counties, who seem not to really care that their citizens rot in jail on simple misdemeanors or who hand out convictions to poor people because they have a problem with drugs—and not the opioids that 45 suggests is now a problem.
According to the Texas Tribune, of the approximately 142,000 inmates in Texas prisons, almost 30,000 are in for possession under 1 gram, and almost 60,000 in total for drug possession charges. That’s not including those convicted of selling drugs. That’s about 42% of inmates. For drugs. FOR. DRUGS. What the hell?
While the state refuses to finance and inject money into our education system for the communities that produce the drug-convicted inmates, the state continues to support a system of criminal injustice. A system that is okay with victimizing victims; a system that takes no issue with locking a person up of months at a time, attaching a $3,000 bond on a misdemeanor, and then handing out a conviction for a simple weed possession. A system with 105 prison units, a system that pays between $60-80k a year to house a support each inmate!
I often wonder if I were ever arrested, would I be able to post bond? I mean, who plans to post a bond for their family member? Of course, some bonds have to be high, but according to the Constitution bail should be weighed with the safety interests of the community and the rights of the defendant and only suffieciently high enough for a person to come back to their court date. But seriously, something’s go to give.
Did I mention that Mesquite police officer Derick Wiley was recently indicted? Finally, a grand jury gets its right, about damn time. I digress.