HOUSTON – From the streets of Harris County to the state capitol, bail reform has been an intensely debated topic. While a federal lawsuit addressed inequities in misdemeanor cases, the way bond in felony cases is handled remains in dispute.
“I started noticing a trend when I started to look at the cases of defendants that were charged with murder,” said Andy Kahan with Crimestoppers Houston. “A lot of them had multiple felony bonds, a lot of them were on (personal) bonds, a lot of them had violated their bonds.”
Kahan raised specific concerns about defendants who had been released on multiple bonds only to then be charged with murder. Kahan said his research found 42 such defendants in murder cases since 2018.
“I’m just flabbergasted that amount is so high, I’m stunned no one wants to talk about it,” Kahan said.
Many in law enforcement, including Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, have been particularly critical of a system allowing those accused of crimes to be released on multiple bonds.
“We have people that have been booked for murder, charged with murder, released while charged with murder and murdering again,” said Acevedo.
“What are your officers saying on the streets,” asked Channel 2 Investigator Robert Arnold.
“They’re frustrated,” said Acevedo. “The proof is in the real victims in this city that are dying at the hands of people that should not have been running around loose.”