TODAY, a Harris County judge denied a bail bond company’s request to block the 10% minimum premium rule passed by the Harris County Bail Bond Board earlier this year. Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia originally proposed this rule. This marks the second court to uphold the rule’s legality. The hearing was argued by Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee and First Assistant County Attorney Jonathan Fombonne.
Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia gave the following statement:
“Public Safety is my priority. That’s as true now as County Commissioner as it was when I was Sheriff. We in Harris County take a comprehensive approach to protecting communities. No shortcuts. The bail industry isn’t making us safer. Bondsmen are getting rich, while those accused of violent crimes are getting out of jail. I am proud to have proposed this rule which had unanimous, bi-partisan support at Commissioners Court. People accused of violent crimes should not get any discounts while they await trial. This affects no one accused of the most minor, nonviolent offenses who would be stuck in jail because they aren’t able to pay. County Attorney Menefee’s work on this issue and the judge’s fair ruling are important to keep our communities safe.”
Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee issued the following statement:
“I’m glad the judge recognized that the bail bond industry’s arguments were meritless. This is an important victory for families and communities who have been affected by violent crimes, and I’m pleased with the court’s decision.”
After a Houston Chronicle exposé revealed that some local bondsmen had been taking payments as low as 1% to bail out defendants, Commissioner Adrian Garcia proposed a resolution at Commissioners Court requiring the industry standard of 10% down for those accused of violent crimes. The resolution passed unanimously. The rule, later proposed and passed by the Harris County Bail Bond Board, requires bail bond companies in Harris County to collect a minimum 10% premium before serving as a surety for people charged with certain violent felonies, including murder, rape, aggravated assault, etc.