How do Harris County judges set bond? We asked a legal expert to explain

Diamond Alvarez's mother says she's furious after Frank Deleon, the girl's boyfriend who's accused of killing her, made $250K bond
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A mother is furious after learning her 15-year-old daughter's boyfriend, who is accused of shooting the girl 22 times, is home after bonding out of jail.

"That bond was a joke," Anna Machado, the victim's mother, said.

Frank Deleon, 17, was charged with murdering his girlfriend, Diamond Alvarez, after prosecutor's claim she found out he was cheating.

RELATED: 17-year-old boyfriend charged with murder of 15-year-old girl in SW Houston posts $250K bond

ABC13 reached out to our legal expert to figure out how this bond compares to the average bond for someone charged with murder.

"There used to be a bail schedule in Harris County, and that bail schedule called for a $50,000 bond for murder cases," legal expert Steve Shellist said. "Once the bail lawsuit happened, things were shook up a little bit. It's a little more individualized now."

Based on what judges have set bond at for defendants charged with murder historically in Harris County, which is $50,000, Shellist said $250,000 is considered a high bond.

"There's going to be other states out there that have much more conservative bail schedules, where they are harder on criminals," Shellist said. "Texas right now, you now have had some changes over time. I wouldn't say friendly towards criminals, but certainly more favorable."

Many may wonder how judges and magistrates ultimately make decisions on what amount to set bond to, especially when comparing cases.

Jeremiah Williams is an inmate accused of beating and sexually assaulting a Harris County sheriff's sergeant. Last month, a judge set his bond at $3.5 million. So, why was his bond set higher than a murder charge?

Shellist said the charges are just one factor that judges and magistrates will look at when setting bond.

READ MORE: Man charged with attacking 2 female joggers in west Harris County

"Of course, you think a murder, that's got to be worse than a sexual assault," Shellist said. "But that's only one part of the equation. You have got to look at their criminal history and dangers in the community."

Deleon has no prior criminal history, whereas Williams was previously charged with sexual assault and attempting sexual assault.

Under the law, aside from capital murder charges, all defendants are entitled to bond.

However, Machado said she wants to see bond set higher for those charged with violent crimes.

"They're laughing at Diamond. Someone can easily pay for that bond," Machado said.

Shellist said for those that are angry at the bail reform system, it's an issue to take up with legislatures.

"It's something we've seen over and over. Every week seems like this is an issue," Shellist said. "Anger should be directed, perhaps not at the judges, but Congress. They're the ones that create the laws that set out the bail conditions that judges and magistrates have to follow."
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