HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - "In Harris County, we’ve set up a system that allows the criminals to take advantage of the criminal justice system," said Attorney Ken W. Good, who specializes in bail law.
Several Harris County Criminal District Court Judges are allowing these criminals and scores of others to do just that.
How? By freeing them from jail over and over again even after they pick up new felony criminal charges while out on multiple felony and PR bonds.
"The criminal justice system is running amuck," Good said. "We have chaos everywhere."
Even when these defendants fail to show up for court, judges give them at least three chances before filing a warrant for their arrest.
"I’ve heard of three strikes you’re out in baseball, but I’ve not heard of we will give you three chances to appear in court and then maybe we will finally figure out you’re just not going to show up," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers. "That appears to be what is happening now."
So how many defendants have gone from being free on multiple felony and personal recognizance bonds to wanted fugitives? Kahan says he had tried repeatedly to get an answer.
"I have no idea, nobody does," Kahan said. "That’s troubling and that’s disturbing to me that we don’t know."
Two of those wanted fugitives are now back behind bars after firing at law officers.
Moises Martinez and Alejandro Quintana are now both charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer.
Both were out of jail on three felony bonds and were wanted for failing to appear in court:
While working on this report, we discovered Shai-keem Thomas is a person of interest in Monday’s shooting death of a pregnant woman in Baytown.
He failed to appear in court after being freed from jail on 3 felony bonds.
"This is a bigger problem than we want to acknowledge," Kahan said.