After the arrest: How repeat offenders slip through the bond cracks

FILE (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

It's a process that occurs whenever someone is placed in handcuffs and arrested. After they've gone through the booking phase, the next step is getting out of jail.

What does that entail?

The first thing to do - and most common - is to post bail.

A bond, which is the same thing as bail, serves as an authorized release by the court pending trial on the criminal charges. In most cases, 10 percent of the full amount is paid to a bail bondsman. The bondsman then becomes responsible to the court if you decide to flee.

ABC13 legal analyst Joel Androphy says anyone arrested on criminal charges is guaranteed the right to bail.

"It's a guaranteed right by the Constitution, unless circumstances prohibit it," Androphy said.

In recent weeks, circumstances surrounding many high-profile cases have drawn criticism and questions.

Last month, Hector Arturo Campos was arrested and charged with the murder of his neighbor. Investigators believe he shot and killed Ana Weed during an argument in their driveway.

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Just a couple days later, Campos returned to his Spring home after posting a $50,000 bond.

"Generally speaking, most people in cases involving murder get bond unless the defendant has threatened other people, unless the prosecutor can establish that the defendant is a flight risk, or a danger to the community," Androphy said.

With such a violent charge as murder, how does this happen?

"Somebody who shoots or kills their neighbor without any prior history is going to get bond," Androphy added.

Androphy says because the law requires the presumption of innocence, you are presumed to be able to live a normal life until a jury either acquits you or convicts you.

Repeat offenders are also given the same presumption of innocence. They can be eligible for bond unless history establishes the person is a risk (violence) to the community or likely to commit another crime.

In October, ABC13 covered the story of repeat sex offender John Skiles. Skiles, who has been convicted of eight sex offenses, was arrested for allegedly exposing himself to a 10-year-old girl.
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Even with eight sex-related convictions, Skiles was walking the streets of Houston as a free man.

Out on bond.

A repeat offender.

"Some repeat offenders get bond, some don't - depends on the judge, your history, prosecution and defense," Androphy added. "How vigorous does the prosecution want to be to keep you in jail."
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