Table of Contents
- How COVID Can Eliminate Austin Bail Bonds
- Judges are Scared to Sign Personal Bonds during Pandemic, Resulting in Increase in Austin Bail Bonds
- Homeless People Don’t Want to Get Out of Jail with an Austin Bail Bondsman
How COVID Can Eliminate Austin Bail Bonds
There have been a few inmates that have tested positive for coronavirus. All these inmates could not afford to pay an Austin Bail Bondsman. In addition, there have been a few guards as well who have tested positive. It is difficult to maintain social distancing in jail, where there are confined spaces. Normally, there are cafeterias in the Travis County Correctional Complex. The solution is for guards to bring food and water to the inmates’ cells directly. There are common showers. Inmates can only take shifts taking showers and must sanitize whenever they are done. There are common areas for watching TV and playing cards, which have been cut in favor of recreation time outside. There are basketball hoops and weight equipment, but those activities are discouraged as well. This is proof that Austin Bail Bondsman discriminates against the poor. Having the money to pay the bail bond by paying an Austin Bail Bondsman or an Austin Bail Bond Lawyer are the only two possible ways to get out of jail.
In addition, there is no court allowed in person. If someone wants to fight their case in a jury trial, that is not an option during this time period. Unless they can get out of jail with an Austin Bail Bondsman or convince the judge to let out under house arrest. So trial dates are tentatively set for at least into Fall 2020. So people who want to get out can plead guilty and get out. Courts are holding Zoom video conferences for plea deals. This is a huge blow to the constitutional guarantee of the right to a speedy trial. People are at risk of dying in jail if they want to assert their right to a jury trial. Therefore, between the two options, most people choose the only option that will get them out of jail, which is pleading guilty.
People who have gotten out of jail have already for the most part. The ones who are waiting for their trials and who do not have the money to pay an Austin Bail Bond business just are sitting in jail. Their families are hard-pressed to come up with the money for their bail bonds now when most service industry jobs have been cut and the economy is down.
In addition, bars are closed. So people are committing less common crimes like DWI’s. Drug Possession charges are down too because people who are recreational users find it risky to come directly into contact with drug dealers. And since there are no bars and strip clubs open, people are partying less. Weddings have decreased as well. So with less partying, there is less of a need to obtain drugs to feel good. With people being home more, the only exception is Assault Family Violence charges.
Austin Bail Bondsman makes a living posting bonds. And with fewer arrests, there is less demand for Austin Bail Bondsman. And with the liberal granting of people’s release by Pretrial Services, more and more people can get out for free. This policy was implemented only a month before coronavirus became a pandemic. These two new developments combined decreased the business of Austin Bail Bondsman drastically.
In addition, Police Officers have been encouraged to write tickets for people to appear in court at a later date and to do a walkthrough than to arrest them and take them to jail. Police officers have also been ordered not to arrest people for certain misdemeanor warrants during COVID. This is a great step by the judges and Police Department to work together to minimize the spread of COVID.
Judges are Scared to Sign Personal Bonds during Pandemic, Resulting in Increase in Austin Bail Bonds
Personal Bonds are under attack by the Texas Governor Greg Abbott. On March 20, 2020, the Governor signed an executive order prohibiting two groups of people from getting personal bonds.
- previously been convicted of a crime involving physical violence
- currently arrested for a crime involving physical violence
How will this affect jail release?
This will affect jail release greatly. Bail bonds is the traditional way to get out of jail in most counties in Texas. But Austin is one of few counties in Texas that allows lawyers to represent clients when getting out of jail. This saves people time and money. By paying a lawyer to get out of jail, their money goes towards their legal representation. Lawyers are the only ones who go to court to represent people and produce a better outcome for the court and for the jail. In addition, lawyers can go talk to the judge at the jail or assigned to the case to advocate to remove restrictive bond conditions that may not apply. Bail bondsmen cannot advocate for fewer bond conditions. And bail bondsmen won’t go to court for people. They are insurance or surety salesmen who make their money from getting people out of jail and that’s it. The moment someone walks out of the jail entrance, their money’s gone.
This executive order in effect is a scare tactic that is supposed to let the public know that Greg Abbott is tough on crime.
This has many loopholes associated with it. There are three ways to get out of jail. The first guaranteed way is to pay cash in full to the jail. The second way is with a bail bondsman. If people were wealthy enough, this doesn’t block their way to get out of jail nor does it affect their livelihood. But for people who are not wealthy, they don’t have enough money to pay cash in full to the jail or enough money to pay for a bail bond as a way to get out of jail. Even if they do have enough money to pay for a bail bond, they are paying for the bail bond with their food and rent money. So this will create a catastrophic ripple effect of perpetuating poverty. This executive order by the governor places wealth and access to wealth as the determining factor of pretrial liberty.
Unfortunately, judges think they can’t let people out of jail on a personal bond for people with a prior conviction involving physical violence or current arrest for a crime involving physical violence. A group of judges even filed a lawsuit asking the Texas Supreme Court to clarify what they can and cannot do. The Texas Supreme Court said this to the county judges, paraphrased in layman’s terms.
“You have a job, do it. Don’t come to your big brother up here because you are scared of a potential threat asking me how to rule.
You are charged with doing a job.
It’s a violation of the separation of powers for you to be prosecuted for doing your job.
And, you have immunity from prosecution for doing your job…
So do it.”
So all in all, judges can do what they want. They have judicial immunity. They can’t get in trouble for interpreting conflicting laws and deciding which law governs. This is a third-grade government, separation of powers. There are a few judges that are taking a stand. Judge Earle of County Court at Law #7 and Judge Chu of Justice of the Peace #5. They are saying judges can do what they want.
In conclusion, the right to Personal Bond cannot be taken away from the citizens of Austin. Judges should be comforted by a Supreme Court opinion and a reminder that they can’t get in trouble with the law because they are the law.
For you, that still means your family and friends can still get out of jail with a lawyer. We might just have to talk to more than one to get them out.
Homeless People Don’t Want to Get Out of Jail with an Austin Bail Bondsman
Most people who get arrested want to get out of jail as fast as possible. This is when hiring a lawyer or Austin Bail Bondsman is a good idea. However, this is not the case for everyone. The exception is homeless people. You might be thinking to yourself, what about homeless shelters? Well, there aren’t enough.
There are many people who had a rough patch in their life where they went to jail once for a small drug possession case and they could not afford an Austin Bail Bondsman or a lawyer and instead, got a court-appointed lawyer who told them they can get out of jail if they plead guilty. So they do. After they get back into the real world, they have a drug conviction on their records and they won’t get hired for a job. They end up losing their apartment and they lose everything because of their inability to get out of jail with an Austin Bail Bondsman or Lawyer so they can fight their case from the outside.
This is how people become homeless. Now that someone is homeless, they fight for survival. Some people live in their car if they have one. This is by far the safest option. What do they do for money? Some homeless people actually have a job so they afford food and save up for shelter.
The others? They beg for money on intersections or major sidewalks, like Guadalupe Street by the University of Texas campus. Or Congress Avenue where a lot of professionals work. At night, they sleep in a tent or with a sleeping bag by the side of the sidewalk. But in the winter, it’s too cold to sleep outside. So there are many homeless people who strategically get arrested so they can get food and shelter during the winter months. They know their cases will get reset by their court-appointed lawyer or they can request that their case get delayed. They will not try to get out with an Austin Bail Bondsman like most people. Then they will negotiate a sentence that will get them out in the spring like February when the coldest part of the winter has passed.
I go down to the jail a lot when families can’t afford an Austin Bail Bondsman and I help them get out of jail as their Lawyer. This was in the middle of December and a homeless man just got released from jail and he was trying to get arrested by peeing right outside of the jail where police officers go into the building. They didn’t arrest him. Then he walked up to the front entrance of the courthouse and started banging the doors. He wasn’t arrested. He was trying to get re-arrested so he could go back to jail where it was warm.
This is a loophole in the Austin Bail Bond System where homeless people exploit. For people who see being in jail as a benefit. There’s nothing you can do. If being in jail is not a consequence for them, but an advantage, they have successfully hacked the system. For them, the key is committing a low-level misdemeanor or a low-level drug offense that they can reasonably plea out for only a few months.