Austin City Council PR Bond Policy Scrutinized For Release of Suspect in Freebirds Stabbing, Firing of Judges
In 2017, the Austin City Council passed a directive to the municipal court to prioritize "personal recognizance" bonds for "indigent" defendants. Some judges who raised concerns about the propriety of the directive were not renewed for another term.
(excerpt from The Texan - Jan 21 2020)
A pair of recent stabbings in Austin resulted in Governor Greg Abbott increasing DPS presence downtown and by the UT campus. Both stabbings were carried out by homeless individuals. The first, in which one person was killed and two were injured, was committed by Dylan Woodburn.
First reported by Texas Jail Watch, Woodburn was released on “personal recognizance” bond for a burglary offense on December 13, 2019. The stabbing took place on January 3.
By now, many Texans are familiar with the City of Austin’s homeless and transient policies when it comes to enforcement. But the city’s first dealings with it occurred well before the July 1 ordinance change and centered on the judicial bench.
Back in 2017, the city council passed Resolution No. 20171214-060. The resolution directed the municipal court to annually report progress on the goals set forth in Resolution No. 20160811-037 and Ordinance No. 20171109-019.
Together, these two resolutions and city ordinance effectively directed the city’s municipal court to start prioritizing “personal bonds” for defendants deemed “indigent” by the court.