New Law Prohibits Bond For Those Charged With Violent Crime

Posted on in Criminal Law

texas defense lawyerThis month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a measure that rewrites the state’s bail system. The governor and his supporters say Senate Bill 6, dubbed the Damon Allen Act, will increase public safety. Critics argue it will just make things harder for people who cannot afford a cash bond.

The Damon Allen Act

The Damon Allen Act amends the current bail system by prohibiting personal bond to those charged with a violent crime or who have been arrested while released on bail. Additionally, the measure requires that the court consider the defendant’s criminal history before granting or denying bond and do so within 48 hours of their arrest. 

State Sen. Joan Huffman, a Republican representing District 17, explained the Damon Allen Act requires the court to establish a Public Safety Report System, a database accessible by court officials so they can review the defendant’s criminal history and overall risk. The measure will also require the bond setter to complete a form stating that they conducted the risk assessment before granting bond. 

Background

Huffman introduced SB 6 in July as part of the ongoing effort to reform the criminal justice system in response to the high-profile murder of George Floyd last summer by a Minneapolis police officer. She said she introduced the measure to fix Texas’s “broken bail system” and prevent future tragedies. The goal, she said, is to make the system more transparent. 

SB 6 was named after Texas State Trooper Daman Allen who was murdered in 2017 because of circumstances the law aims to address. Allen’s killer had been released on bond even though he had previously been convicted of assaulting a public servant. 

Criticism

Initially, critics zeroed in on a provision written into the bill that would have prohibited charitable organizations from posting bail for defendants. In response, lawmakers revised the bill, so charitable groups can post bail. However, the funds must be certified by county officials and then those officials must report who the group bonded out. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas called SB 6  “a giveaway to the bail industry” rather than a serious effort to reform the state’s bail system. They argued the new law will make it harder for poor people to afford bond and they will end up pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit because they are too poor to sit in jail while awaiting trial. 

Contact A San Antonio, TX Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for a violent crime or other criminal offense, contact experienced Texas criminal defense attorney Sam H. Lock. In his more than ten years of practicing law, attorney Sam H. Lock has handled just about every type of criminal case, from misdemeanors to murder. Call 210-226-0965 for a free consultation with the Law Office of Sam H. Lock. 

 

Sources:

https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-signs-damon-allen-act-into-law-at-safer-houston-summit

https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=871&Bill=SB6

https://senate.texas.gov/members/d17/press/en/p20210831a.pdf

https://www.aclutx.org/en/press-releases/aclu-texas-comment-house-passing-bail-bill-punishes-poor-texans

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/08/27/texas-bail-legislature/

 

Last modified on

Office

Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210
210-226-0965
888-726-5625 Toll Free
210-226-7540