Governor Abbott issued an executive order Sunday which will have tremendous consequences for person’s charged with pending violent felonies or have been convicted of violent felonies in the past. Abbott’s Executive order does not allow persons who are in jail on crimes of violence or with a criminal history of violence to be eligible for a personal recognizance bonds which are also called PR bonds. Judges sometimes grant PR bonds to defendants which allows them to be released from jail without posting any money.
In recent weeks Judges in Texas have been under pressure due to the Corona virus to release as many inmates from county jails as possible. One way of doing this is by granting a PR bond. In Harris County a District Judge released an inmate charged with Murder when the inmate complained that he was afraid of catching the Corona virus in jail. Abbott’s Executive Order now takes that tool away from Texas Judges.
Criminal defense attorneys will no doubt fight back by alleging the Executive Order is a violation of the defendant’s Constitutional Rights. The Corona virus has already shut down court dockets and caused Judges to cancel trials and reset cases. Some defendant’s have been waiting over a year in jail for a trial. Now with Abbott’s Executive Order they will have an even longer wait.