The Dallas City Council members expressed surprise during a presentation to the panel’s Public Safety Committee on Monday at how violent offenders are being granted low bond amounts, D Magazine reported.
Dallas Police Major Teena Schultz presented slides showing that a family violence suspect with a history of aggravated assault was released from jail after posting a $3,500 bond while a suspect with a history of sexual assault posted a $1,000 bond after getting arrested for aggravated robbery.
“As I look at this, it’s frightening,” council member Adam McGough said.
Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune told the council that judges and magistrates have sole authority to set bail, which spurred McGough to request a list of Dallas County magistrates and their records for setting the amounts, the magazine reported.
In 2018, U.S. District Judge David Godbey ordered Dallas County to reform its bail system after deciding that some suspects were languishing in jail because they couldn’t afford to post bond for minor offenses.
District Attorney John Creuzot previously told D Magazine he believes judges, in response, have gone too far in setting low bail amounts.
Creuzot said he wants both a public defender and a representative from his office at every arraignment to ensure judges have all the pertinent information they need before setting bail. But that plan is now being held up while the bail reform case goes through mediation, he said.
“We’re not present,” he said Monday. “The judges are going to do what they’re going to do.”