Judge gives final approval to Harris Co. bail deal

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Friday, November 22, 2019
Judge gives final OK over Harris Co. bail system overhaul
Harris County's bail system had been under scrutiny over being unfair to poorer inmates.

HOUSTON, Texas -- A federal judge has given final approval to a settlement in a lawsuit over the bail system in Texas' most populous county which ensures that most people accused of misdemeanor offenses don't languish in jail.

The bail system in Harris County, where Houston is located, had been deemed unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal following a 2016 lawsuit alleging poor misdemeanor defendants stayed behind bars because of poverty.

RELATED: Bail practices in Harris County Jail under scrutiny

In an opinion issued Thursday, Rosenthal wrote the settlement - announced in July - will help stop the county from "systematically depriving indigent misdemeanor defendants of their constitutionally-protected rights by detaining them simply because they cannot afford to post money bail."

Some law enforcement officials argued the settlement doesn't do enough to ensure the safety of the public and crime victims.

SEE ALSO: Federal judge rules that Harris County bail system is unfair to the poor

Ted Oberg's tweet on bail settlement from July 2019