While there might be a temporary spike as these judges say (no evidence!), all studies show that what they say is not true. Suspecting that this handful of judges “going the wrong way” might be elected, I checked. Judges in Texas are elected, and these idiot judges are saying this shit just to sound “tough on crime”!! Wanna bet? There are powerful forces everywhere hindering meaningful, wise, reforms!

So, unlike others opposing reforms – can you say private prison companies and prison guard union? – these judges are not doing this to save their jobs {they will be swamped with cases until ALL needed reforms are enacted!], they are doing it to keep their POWER.


Read also Wrongful Misdemeanor Convictions: Who’s Counting? ,  a related excellent article which also discusses exoneration and the horrors of our “plea bargain” [READ Rush to Sentence, which I wrote years ago] justice system.

Excerpt from that article:

To date, the National Registry of Exonerations, a project that seeks to track false convictions to prevent future errors, has tallied 85 misdemeanor exonerations in the last 29 years – about four percent of the total 2,145 exonerations since 1989, the rest of which are felonies. But this low count is not to say that misdemeanor false convictions are less common than felony false convictions. The exonerations are simply more unlikely.

The most typical misdemeanor exonerations, which take place an average of 1.7 years after conviction, are for drug possession – 58 out of the total 85 counted by the Registry. All but one of these exonerations took place in Harris County, Texas.

This is not due to some particular concentration of bogus drug busts in Harris County, according to Gross. Rather, Harris County is the only jurisdiction in the country with a crime lab that regularly tests substances thought to be illegal drugs after the suspects carrying them have already been charged and pled guilty. In most jurisdictions, drug arrests are based on cheap, error-prone field tests, and should the defendant plead guilty to the charge, no further testing occurs.

It is not difficult to imagine, then, that many people convicted of misdemeanor drug possession might in fact be innocent and never get the chance to clear their names.

Felony or misdemeanor, you can lose EVERYTHING “quick, fast, and in a hurry” once you are locked up! For those who are innocent, this is a genuine tragedy.




Excerpts from the Article:

Misdemeanor court judges in Houston, Texas, appealed to a Fifth Circuit panel on Tuesday to scrap judicially–imposed bail reform, which they claim has caused a spike in people failing to appear in court, the Courthouse News Service reports.

In a motion to stay, fourteen Harris County criminal court judges allege that U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal compromised public safety when she ordered the county to release poor misdemeanor defendants from jail. Since Judge Rosenthal’s preliminary injunction took effect in June 2017, the county’s failure-to-appear rates have “skyrocketed,” the judges say.

Harris County is Texas’s most populous county, with more than 4.5 million residents. It is also home to the third largest county jail in the country.

In the spring of 2017, Rosenthal found that Harris County’s bail system violated the due process and equal protection rights of indigent defendants by favoring those who can afford to pay to get out of jail. She issued an injunction that she then narrowed in July after a Fifth Circuit panel ruled that even though the Harris County bail system is unconstitutional, her order amounted to an impermissible automatic right to pretrial release for misdemeanor defendants.

Bail reform has been gaining traction nationwide in recent years. Varying degrees of reform have been implemented in New Jersey, Alaska, Maryland, and New Orleans, and since January 2016, federal class action lawsuits have been filed in Dallas, Galveston, and Lafayette, Louisiana, challenging county bail systems. But the case in Houston demonstrates that strong opposition remains to the elimination of cash bail.

Alec Karakatsanis, the founder of the Washington, D.C. nonprofit firm Civil Rights Corps and the lead attorney challenging the bail system in Harris County, rejected claims that Rosenthal’s initial injunction endangered public safety. He said that the county has provided no evidence that people released on cash bond are more likely to show up for court than those released pretrial on unsecured personal bonds. In fact, he said, pretrial detention increases failure-to-appear rates and the likelihood a defendant will commit crimes in the future.

The judges in the case did not say when they would rule on the emergency motion to stay.


Houston Judges Move to Halt Bail Reform