Travis County district attorney outlines justice reform efforts

Travis County

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Travis County District Attorney’s Office is incorporating new principles to help guide prosecutors.

District Attorney José Garza updated Travis County Commissioners Court on those principles Thursday. It’s part of an effort on justice and bail reform.

In Thursday’s meeting, Garza discussed the following guidelines for prosecution of cases:

“Bail: Those who have committed heinous crimes and are a danger to the community should remain in custody pending trial. But we must work to ensure that it is not just the wealthy who are given an opportunity to be released when they are not a danger to the community. While we cannot set bail ourselves, we will follow our bail statute, and we will be using this analysis to recommend bail to the Judges who will make the final determination:

  • We will not consider a person who is an attendance risk, meaning they have missed court
    in the past but have not attempted to evade the police, a flight risk.
  • For anyone charged with a State Jail Felony, there will be a presumption of release with
    no conditions if it is determined that the person poses no threat to community safety or
    risk of flight.
  • For anyone charged with a higher-level felony, there will be a presumption of release
    with the least restrictive condition necessary to ensure that the person is not a risk to the
    community or risk of flight.
  • Anyone who poses a future risk of harm to our community or a risk of a flight that cannot
    be addressed by conditions other than pre-trial incarceration should remain in custody.”

To see all guidelines for the TCDA Prosecution of Cases, click here.

Conversations surrounding bail reform also continued at the Texas Capitol this week, where Republican state lawmakers presented the Damon Allen Act.

“This legislation before you charts a path forward that will better protect victims, the public and law enforcement and reduce financial burden to counties who house and feed low-risk pre-trial defendants who are unable to make bond,” said Rep. Andrew Murr. “It provides more information to magistrates so they can make better-informed decisions when setting bail, and it preserves magistrates’ discretion to determine bail.”

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