County judge's plan to require 10% bond for violent offenders fails to pass

"Regretfully there were not enough votes to pass the item, some like the chair, abstained. When you abstain, you are effectively voting no," said Adrian Garcia Precinct 2 Commissioner.

It was a tough loss for Garcia, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and others hoping to force bail bonding companies to require defendants to pay 10% of their bond.

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"The vast majority of the time when you hear about folks out on bond and commit a crime, it's because they paid. So we dug into that, just as we're digging into every aspect of our criminal justice system, and we found several of the bail bonding companies are not charging the customary 10%, they're charging less than that," Hidalgo said.

For hours, the Harris County Bail Bonding Board and Commissioners Court heard from crime victims wanting the 10% minimum down to pass.

But some bail bonding companies say that would require a new state law.

"The legal opinion of the county attorney was there to say this board has the authority to act and set regulatory standards," Garcia said.


While county officials admit more must be done to combat the rise in violent crime here, the proposition failing was a hard pill to swallow.

"This isn't about this issue solving everything. I don't believe money is always the answer," Gonzalez said. "I think we've got to be realistic, but we've got to take action. That's what we're trying to do here today, let's do something."

County leaders say it failed because Angela Rodriguez, interim chair of the Bail Bonding Board, and a representative from the DA's office abstained.


Paul Castro, whose son David was allegedly murdered by a man now free on bond, didn't hide his disappointment in the plan failing.

"An abstention is an insult to my son's memory and all the parents who are here today on behalf of their children who were murdered by people who are now out on bond," he said.