Breaking Bond: Opponent to felony bond reform in Harris County speaks

"It’s a dangerous time to be in Harris County," said  Ken W. Good an attorney specializing in Bail law.

In our ongoing series Breaking Bond we’ve told you how 118 Harris County residents have been killed allegedly at the hands of repeat violent offenders free from jail on multiple felony or personal recognizance bonds.

"There’s no accountability in this system for career criminals," Good said. "When you are on a PR bond and you fail to show up for court there’s nobody in the PR bond department that’s going to look for you.

"The county is really trying to take a different approach to just let’s lock them up and throw away the key," said Jim Bethke Director of Harris County’s Justice Administration Department.

Bethke and his associate Colin Cepuran have both testified in Austin against House Bill 20 and 21.


The proposed laws would stop judges from freeing repeat violent offenders from jail on multiple felony and PR bonds.

Cepuran makes his thoughts on prisons Chrystal clear.

He wants to abolish them.

"I know that’s not the goal of the Justice Administration Department or the county," Bethke said.

Some question data Cepuran has submitted to Commissioners Court claiming misdemeanor bond reform has caused a reduction in crime.

"I don’t know how you can say misdemeanor bond reform or bond reform has led to reduced homicides," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers. "We are seeing our homicide rates skyrocketing let’s be real here.

I asked Bethke what he thought of out ongoing series Breaking Bond.

"The Breaking Bond series I think is one-sided," he said. "It’s absolutely tragic what is taking place. "What we are forgetting is there’s a presumption of innocence and we value liberty."

"What do you say to the families of the 118 people who’ve now been murdered by defendants on multiple felony bonds," Kahan said. "What do you say to them?"

"It’s tragic and it’s awful and we are going to do better," Bethke said.