HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - No one wants to share the road with someone who’s driving while intoxicated but Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman says it’s happening too often.
In fact, he says too many DWI drivers are being let right out of jail only to offend again.
"That’s pathetic," Constable Herman said. "We’re out here on the front lines fighting, keeping our communities safe. It basically tells the offenders there is no consequence for breaking the law. I mean I have people literally asking me when is it going to be against the law to break the law."
In March, Constable Herman had a devastating fatal wreck in his jurisdiction where a mother and her baby boys were killed in the crash by an alleged intoxicated driver going 115 miles an hour.
"There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about Porsha Branch and her three kids," he said.
For this reason, the constable is reminding us there are no second chances for victims like this family. So Constable Hermann is asking why are accused DWI offenders getting so many opportunities?
"We’re arresting them for their third, fourth, fifth time. We had one here about a month ago that we arrested one week, and the very next week we were arresting him again". Constable Herman blames bail reform and a backlog of cases as courts continue to play catch up.
"As a first responder, we don’t have that opportunity to say we’re just not going to enforce the laws because of the pandemic. We know how to operate during the pandemic. We’ve learned things. They need to open up the courts," Herman adds.
"Our judicial system is backed up for a few reasons. The pandemic is a big reason. Another big reason is Harvey," Retired Harris County Criminal At Law Judge Mike Fields explained. "As you’ll recall Harvey knocked out our jury assembly room and it knocked out our courthouse."
"I’ve been in law enforcement 36 years. I’ve never seen it to this point," Constable Herman said while pointing out the thousands of cases dismissed since January of last year. "There’s been over 29,000 criminal cases these judges have dismissed for various reasons. Well, we’re going to be refiling a lot of those cases."
"If a judge finds no probable cause, then for that judge there’s no probable cause," Judge Fields explained. As far as allowing repeat DWI offenders out on bond, the judge says "What’s happening is what the constitution calls for. It calls for everyone short of a capital murder defendant to be granted bail".
"If you commit a crime and you commit another crime and then you commit another one, at some point they don’t need to have a bond," Constable Herman added. "These people are a huge threat to our society."