Why are people getting out on so many bonds in Harris Co.?

Saturday, July 3, 2021
Why people are getting out on so many bonds
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It's become too familiar. People are out on several bonds and continue racking up charges, leaving more potential victims in their path. ABC13 took a look into how it's happening.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The man accused of shooting and killing a mother and wounding her child was out on seven felony bonds. Earlier this week, we told you about a different man who was out on 10 bonds and was then picked up for four new charges.

It's become all too familiar. People are out on five, 10 or more bonds, and they continue to rack up charges. This leaves more potential victims in their path, so ABC13 took a look into how it's happening.

It was Father's Day weekend when Demetrius Navarro had just returned from a trip. Before heading back home, he and his son stopped at a business to spend some time together. While they were inside, crooks broke into his son's car, where Navarro had left his luggage.

"I had to run through my mind, 'OK, what was exactly in here, what exactly is in my backpack, (my) work backpack, what kind of paperwork,'" said Navarro.

He said he had to change passwords, call his credit card companies and deal with the stress of the break-in. It was all over a crime that took the thieves seconds to commit.

Darrick Gray was charged with the crime. At the time, he was out on 10 bonds, including aggravated assault.

SEE RELATED STORY: Convicted felon with lengthy criminal history out on 10 bonds arrested on 4 new crimes

How can that happen?

When someone violates their bond, it can be revoked. Prosecutors file a request in court to have the bond revoked, then hold a bond hearing, where evidence is presented by prosecutors to show support to revoke the bond. The defense also has an opportunity to refute the revocation.

So, who sets that hearing? That's what they don't seem to agree on.

Two judges have told ABC13 it's up to the prosecutor to schedule the hearing, but the DA's office says it's up to the judge.

"It is incumbent upon the parties, whether it be a defendant or a prosecutor. If they file a motion and they wish to have a hearing on that, they must request that hearing. To do it any other way would be for the judge to put their finger on the scale," said Judge Chris Morton.

The district attorney's office says after a request to revoke bond is filed, it's up to the judge to schedule the hearing, and that's always been the case.

Bottom line is if the hearings aren't scheduled and bonds don't get revoked, people can continue to rack up charges, leaving more potential victims like Navarro.

"It makes it very curious as to why he was out after bonding out 10 times, a convicted felon," said Navarro.

Another factor is setting a bond in the first place. Former judge Mike Schneider says public safety and the defendant's rights are both weighed.

"It may seem counterintuitive for someone who is charged with all these serious offenses to be out in the free. However, you still have a presumption of innocence when you've been charged with something, but there hasn't been a finding that you did do what they're accusing you of," said Schneider.

In the case involving Gray, Judge Jason Loung is the felony judge. Prosecutors filed a motion to revoke Gray's bond in early May after Gray was charged with aggravated assault.

No bond hearing has happened, and it remains unclear why. Loung has declined to comment.

RELATED: Bonds as low as $10 given to inmates, including some charged with violent crimes

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