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TEXAS BAIL REFORM:

Striking a Balance Between Justice With Accountability

Cash bond, the dominant bail system in Texas, allows an individual to secure release by merely posting the full cash amount with the court clerk or by paying a fee to a bondsman, who acts as a surety on the bail amount and guarantees the person's appearance in court.

In Texas, a wealthy, high-risk individual charged with a violent offense can almost immediately
post a high dollar cash bail, while a poor, low-risk person accused of a non-violent crime can
spend years in pre-trial detention waiting for their case to be heard. It is intellectually dishonest
to argue that such a system does not violate the accused's constitutional rights and the equal
protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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The current cash bond system not only fails to protect the constitutional presumption of
innocence, but vastly contributes to jail over-population that too often induces the innocent to
accept guilty plea bargains.

The reality is that most of the people held in the state's jail systems that cannot post cash bail are
non-violent Black and Brown Americans. Many of whom are working poor, homeless, or
suffering from mental health issues at the time of their arrests.

House Bill 2077 introduced by Rep Ron Reynolds, Texas House District 27, during the 2021
87th Legislative session is not perfect, but is the best piece of legislation filed to begin the
process of serious bail reform.

HOW DOES H.B. 2077 HELP?

  • Create a right to release on bail for all non-violent, low-risk people charged with criminal offenses

  • Create a presumption for release on a PR bond, along with additional conditions as deemed appropriate by a judge

  • Require judges who deny bail to issue written reasons by the standard of clear and convincing evidence

  • Require the judge to consider both the risk that person will appear in court and safety to the community, including the victim of the offense

  • Require courts to conduct a pre-trial risk assessment using non-biased risk assessment tools designed to avoid outcomes based on race, gender, and other protected classifications

  • Ensure a defendant's appearance in court and protection of the community while allowing low-risk, non-violent individuals to be released

  •  Would allow a judge to deny bond for violent offenders

  • Require bond hearings within 48 hours of a person being detained

H.B. 2077 WOULD:

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