HOUSTON (August 20, 2020) – Over 50 people have been killed in Harris County over the last two years as a result of well-intentioned, but poorly implemented bail bond reforms. Ashton Broussard had four prior felony convictions and was granted two PR bonds in the days leading up to an altercation where he is alleged to have taken a gun from a security officer before being shot by a Houston PD Sergeant. Cedgadrick Harris was released on a PR bond after allegedly assaulting Kimberley Robinson. He then failed to appear for a routine court hearing, but was still granted a second PR bond. He then allegedly tampered with a government record and was granted a felony bond despite having obviously violated his previous PR bonds. After being released on two PR bonds and a felony bond, Harris kicked down Robinson’s door and shot her to death, injuring her 4-year old daughter in the process. Angel Cardenas was released on a PR bond following his arrest on capital murder and tampering with evidence charges after an alleged accomplice died of gunshot wounds suffered during a shootout following a gun store robbery.
Due to these cases and many others, Crime Stoppers of Houston supports the efforts of Senator Paul Bettencourt to prevent people from being released from jail on multiple personal bonds and Senator John Whitmire’s ongoing efforts to reform the bail bond system and establish a statewide, standardized system that sets bond based on risk. These changes would result in significant improvements to the pretrial release system in Texas by ensuring equitable treatment of individuals accused of crimes and reducing the likelihood of violent repeat offenders being released back on to the streets.
Time and time again, we’re seeing the same defendants released on multiple bonds, continually being arrested for additional felony crimes and yet are still getting out of jail on new bonds. The last statistical data Crime Stoppers received six months ago from local law enforcement officials indicate over 4,000 defendants have been granted bonds for violent and sexually related offenses. Public safety is at a higher risk when career habitual offenders are continuously released back to the community. All of us who live and work in Harris County should be on the same page on behalf of public safety. Increasing crime rates detrimentally affect all of us. Improving public safety has to be a non-partisan issue.
Crime Stoppers of Houston urges the Harris County delegation to the Texas Legislature to take action this upcoming legislative session to protect victims and the community by making public safety a central component of any bond reform legislation considered during the upcoming legislative session. We cannot continue to release dangerous individuals on to the streets. As Kimberley Robinson’s mother, Janet Robinson, said: “when you keep letting these people out are you thinking about the person that’s supposed to be protected?”
For additional information or to schedule a media interview, please contact Crime Stoppers Director of Victim Services Andy Kahan at email@example.com.