Aggressive Criminal Defense

Controversial bail legislation on its way to the governor

People who are charged with committing violent acts may now find it more difficult to get out of jail on bond while their cases are pending. On the same day that 666 new Texas laws went into effect, additional legislation was passed in the form of Senate Bill 6. It is highly anticipated that the governor, who championed this legislation, will sign off on it and make it a law.

Does SB 6 mean mass incarceration for poor defendants?

SB 6 is a bill that governs how inmates charged with violent crimes can be released on bond if that option is available. The way it is written has earned it the title of “wealth-based” legislation in that it mandates cash bonds instead of personal bonds. Even changes to the way in which nonprofit agencies post bail have been revised. Their nonprofit status must be verified, and they must identify the individual for whom payment is being made.

Civil rights advocates oppose this measure, saying it will disproportionately affect poor and minority defendants. SB 6 would:

• Pose limits on who could be released on cash bonds
• Restrict those charged with violent crimes from posting personal bonds
• Possibly lead to more time behind bars for those who cannot pay cash

SB 6 has oversight on the actions of judges as well. They cannot release large numbers of inmates who cannot afford cash bonds but would be able to offer personal bonds as is often the case with poor defendants. Arguments opposing SB 6 do not seek to shield criminal defendants from charges but to protect their constitutional rights and access to due process.

Crime does pay when it comes to the bail bonds industry

SB 6 is not just about keeping the accused in jail; it is about making cash payments and not personal bonds to release offenders. Critics say the measure begs the question of whether it’s true that money talks and people walk.

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