Repeat Court-Ordered Personal Recognizance Bonds: Listen to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg Explain the Problem
As legislation in Missouri advances designed to make public safety the primary focus of bail considerations and to reduce the continued use of personal recognizance bonds for repeat and high risk offenders, it would benefit all involved in the process to listen to Harris County (Houston) Texas District Attorney Kim Ogg testify on legislation in Texas similar to that being advanced in Missouri, HB 946 and SB 487.
Harris County, Texas is the third largest county by population in the country...and they have a serious problem.
In Harris County, as a result of a federal court order, several bail reforms have been implemented including personal recognizance presumptions similar to Missouri law that was forced by the state courts now driving the increased use of personal recognizance bonds in Missouri.
Reforms in Harris County are failing...
It is no secret that DA Ogg ran on bail reform, and that her campaign was in part funded by Soros interests. But, importantly, she ran on reforming the system when it came to low-level indigent offenders, including some misdemeanors, petty offenses, and ordinance violations, the kinds of reforms we've seen from coast-to-coast and for with which we often agree.
When it came to the problem of violent other felonies getting out on repeat personal recognizance bonds, what DA Ogg called consecutive bonds, the numbers are astounding. As major bail reforms were implemented that also included the felony courts, one offender has set a new record for being issued bonds in 18 consecutive criminal cases. As a result of the bail reforms, as DA Ogg testified, crimes while on bond have tripled from around 6,000 a year in 2015 to around 18,000 today.
In Missouri, we often hear, where is the data? Well, where is it? If DA Ogg can compile it from Harris County, one of the largest jurisdictions in the United States, and present it to the legislature, we’d like to see what is happening in the largest cities and counties in Missouri as well. We might be surprised to find out in our quest to help the indigent, which we should do, that we have gone too far and helped career criminals get ahead instead. Reversing that trend is key to reducing pretrial crime, guaranteeing accountability, and making sure low risk defendants have a pathway out of jail.
District Attorney Kim Ogg on the legislative floor just last week...