I believe that persons being held on misdemeanor charges are quite often willing to enter guilty pleas in order to gain their release from jail. That dynamic will now change as bail requirements are relaxed under the decision in ODonnell, Civil Action No. H-16-1414 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 28, 2017). While this decision will have a significant effect on the professional bail-bond business, the effect on misdemeanor court dockets may be more profound. May affect how defense counsel become involved, and of course, jail populations also. Stay tuned. OpinionThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Martin Peterson,
O'Donnell has generated a great deal of interest, so it appears the Fifth Circuit will be providing some answers. Amici
How much and how quickly things will change remains to be seen.
The bail system used in Kentucky (where there are no professional bail bonds men), is being touted.
No mechanical application of pre-set amounts for bail and more leniency in use of personal bonds and more-detailed hearings are the new norm. O'Donnell
Harris County is set to approve a settlement of O'Donnell.
The legislature sought to provide a statewide solution in several bills. But, only one even passed one house (HB 2020). Of the two most comprehensive (game-changing) of the bills, HB 1323 made it out of committee but no farther and SB 628 never even got that far. The other bills were HB 3282, HB 3925, and SB 2241. Among the proposals were use of risk assessment tools and limits on a requirement of monetary bail. The bail bond lobby seems to have delayed the onslaught to some extent. The war, however, continues. Scott Henson's conclusion was that the inaction came "because the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to define the questions the Lege must answer. In two years, the 5th Circuit will have ruled in either the Dallas or Galveston litigation and we'll know what constitutional baseline the Lege must meet. Until then, this entire endeavor is premature . . . ."
So, each jurisdiction is left to its own devices. But the times, they are a-changin'.
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