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President's Message

President’s Message: September 2022

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Oftentimes we wait until it is too late to thank the heroes in our lives. We think we have all the time in the world to get around to it. We want to wait for the perfect time and the perfect words. And the way life frequently plays out – we struggle to find either of them. Before we know it, life happens, and our heroes pass from this earth and the opportunity to thank them – in this life at least – is gone.

Well, on July 5th, we lost one of our own heroes, Honorable Frank Maloney. Judge Maloney was truly one of the greatest criminal defense attorneys this state has ever seen. He’s also one of the greatest leaders and Presidents TCDLA has ever been blessed with, having served in the role in 1971‑1972. He also went on to serve the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as President in 1988.

What made him so great? For starters, a sincere calling to serve others: his clients, his colleagues, his family, and his friends. Add to that: his ability to listen; his fundamental understanding that professional success and authentic kindness are not mutually exclusive; and his inclusivity and willingness to encourage and befriend new and up and coming attorneys and to mentor so many lawyers across the state of Texas. Yes, he was wicked smart and great in a courtroom for sure. He had a tremendous track record of success. He had great war stories – far more wins than losses you can be sure. But what made him such a great lawyer was understanding that there was more to life than just practicing law. He understood that being a great lawyer begins with first being a good person. It means being a well‑rounded and well‑grounded person. That’s what gives a lawyer perspective. Perspective to not get too high with the victories and more importantly, to be able to have the courage and fortitude to get back up from the depths of the lows that come from the defeats and battle scars. That’s the foundation that made Judge Maloney a hero of TCDLA. One of the reasons that I made Institutional Knowledge a goal for my year as TCDLA President is to be able to capture these incredibly important lessons – courtroom lessons and life lessons – from the greats like Judge Maloney. Learning from Judge Maloney helps us become better people, better attorneys and a far better TCDLA.

As I was talking the other day with Melissa Schank, our TCDLA Chief Executive Officer, about several of my role models, she reminded me what we admire about our heroes is actually a reflection of ourselves—as much as our own DNA. We just need to see it in our daily lives, to nourish it, and share it with the world. So, thank you, Judge Maloney, and all of the heroes who founded the largest most successful criminal defense organization in America, and in doing so, paved the unstoppable path for us to follow. Thank you for caring so much for the accused and their defenders. We will always honor you, and you will never be forgotten.

Today, take a moment to reach out to your heroes in life and thank them. Now is the perfect time.

President’s Message: A Dream Worth Fighting For

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Every lawyer has a personal story and journey of how they entered this profession. I love hearing others’ stories as much as I like sharing my own. I am a fourth generation, first female attorney in my family. And I’ve dreamed of being a lawyer since I was a little girl. Like many members of the bar, we believe this isn’t just our job, it is our deep‑rooted calling in life and we’ve weathered many storms to get where are today.

Some achieved the dream of being just like their dad, who they idolized their whole life. Others courageously persevered while growing up in extreme poverty in inner‑city slums to beat the odds for the chance to practice law. Still others’ journey involved overcoming tragedy, even being the victims of violent crimes, and rising from the ashes to become fierce advocates in the court‑ room. Others tell beautiful stories of immigrating to the United States from impoverished countries to achieve the American Dream, and are serving this country with honor. There are many inspirational stories. Whatever the story is, we all have a special one worth preserving.

However, what occurred in the aftermath of June 24th threatens to turn our stories into epic tragedies. Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – six days after I became TCDLA President – took direct aim at and put a chink in the armor of our sacred profession. The actions that ensued threaten to not only destroy our dreams and what we have worked so hard to achieve, but also trample on the very rights and freedom that we swore to safeguard.

Regardless of your personal or political beliefs regarding abortion, what we must rally behind is to fight against the groundswell of support by some state politicians who wish to pass legislation which would impose a mandatory disbarment of Texas lawyers for any involvement they may have as employers regarding their employees’ participation in abortions.

In the short time I have served as your TCDLA President, I have been privileged to dialogue with so many of you with very different, oftentimes very ardent, opinions surrounding abortion. Diversity of opinion is one of the aspects that makes this organization great and one of the core values I pledged to honor, and which I discussed in my previous Voice article. I am asking that we set aside differences in our personal beliefs and be cognizant that with the stroke of a pen, politicians can threaten to destroy our dreams and the great work that we do every day to fight for our clients.

Thankfully, we have an unstoppable organization with countless talented, devoted fighters. Part of our strategy to combat this threat will be a task force to handle this head‑on. I’ve asked our well‑respected colleague, Nicole DeBorde Hochglaube, to chair this committee. We will be strong and look to partner with other organizations throughout the country to ensure we relentlessly fight the impending overcriminalization that is eerily brewing.

Taking a stand now is not optional. If left unchecked, this latest foray into overcriminalization can quickly spread like wildfire. Even though it can be an uncomfortable conversation, we must work together to de‑ fend against the rising storm of overcriminalization that is headed our way. At this time, we need to stand in solidarity and recall the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

TCDLA: let us be united in our efforts to fight against this latest tale of injustice. The very stories of the next generation of lawyers may well be depending on us.

President’s Message: Room at the Table

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What an honor to be writing my first column as President of Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association! I remember how this journey began in the fall of 1999, when I was a proverbial baby lawyer in the Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, Texas. I was proud to have been assigned to my very first court‑appointed case and determined to figure out how on earth I was going to actually try the case. My partner in crime at the time, Darlina Crowder, and I were newly‑licensed, but so hungry, and it showed.

After court, we were heading onto the elevator with our shiny new briefcases, and we were lucky enough to be approached by a couple of great lawyers, John Hardin and Chris Hoover. They said we should sign up for this organization called TCDLA. We even got a discounted rate, so why not? I filled out my application and faxed—yes faxed—it back the same day. The rest, as they say, is history.

My 23‑year TCDLA journey has been filled with many great adventures, some challenges along the way, but most all, many cherished friendships. And I’m grateful for every single second of the journey so far. My family and I are so blessed to be part of this incredible group of people.

I would also like to thank the Past‑Presidents who have led this organization with such valor, especially immediate Past‑President Michael Gross, who has paved the way for me. Michael, I have said this before, you are one of the finest lawyers I’ve ever known. You were a fearless leader, and as always, an officer and a gentleman. Thank you for your service.

Over the next year, I want to work relentlessly to make sure that everyone in TCDLA‑‑all 3,500 of us‑‑is afforded the same experiences and opportunities I have had. My vision is simple: to make sure there is room at the table for everyone. I hold in the highest esteem the tenets of inclusion, diversity, and the institutional knowledge that we all bring from our wealth of experiences – inside the courtroom and beyond.

What does that vision entail, you ask? Well, first and foremost, I want everyone to realize they have an individual seat at the table. All lawyers who are committed to protecting the individual rights of the criminally accused are welcome in TCDLA ‑ whether you have been practicing for less than a year, or for many decades. We want to celebrate – and tap into – the fresh ideas and innovation of all the younger lawyers as well as the institutional knowledge of those that are seasoned and battle‑tested. The TCDLA tent is as enormous as the State of Texas, and all are included inside.

I also truly value and want to recognize our diverse membership ‑not just because that is the progressive thing to do these days‑ but because diversity breeds excellence. Proverbs teaches us that “Iron sharpens iron; one person sharpens another.” And to me, that is the beauty of a diverse tent – diversity that is celebrated by including every gender, race, ethnicity, geographic background, political and religious belief – and perhaps most especially – diversity of thoughts, ideas and dreams. The more diverse we are, the more inclusive we become, the more room we make at the table – our organization becomes even greater, we become even better lawyers and we thrive more as individuals. Iron truly sharpens iron.

I see this upcoming year as the greatest opportunity of my career… to serve all of you. My TCDLA journey, which started many years ago when those elevator doors opened in a Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, Texas, is only complete when I have finished doing all I can to help every TCDLA member fulfill their lifetime journey.

President’s Message: Thanks

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I cannot believe that it has already been almost one year since the beginning of my presidency and that it is drawing to a close. I am looking forward to Heather Barbieri leading TCDLA throughout the next year. We are in good hands with Heather at the helm. I want to thank our CEO, Melissa, for making this a very good and very smooth year. We are very fortunate to have her as our CEO. Melissa and her staff are absolutely wonderful, and I want them to know just how much I appreciate their help and hard work this past year. I want to thank my executive committee for their wonderful help and thoughtfulness during this past year. I could not have asked for a better EC, and they certainly made my year a wonderful experience. You are all stars. I want to thank my committee chairs and their committee members for all of their excellent work this year on the various and difficult tasks I sent to them to solve for TCDLA. What an outstanding group of individuals. I also want to thank our membership for their loyalty to TCDLA and helping when called upon to help TCDLA. We are indeed fortunate to have such wonderful members of TCDLA. Thanks to everyone.

Be well.

President’s Message: Keeping the Geofence Shut

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We all remember in law school how Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), evaluated recording devices in public telephone booths. Over twenty years ago, the Supreme Court in Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001), looked at thermal‑imaging devices and how they affected the Fourth Amendment. Just a few years ago, the Supreme Court then addressed cell‑site location data in Carpenter v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 2206 (2018). The hot new topic now is geofence warrants which request a user’s location data within a given time and a particular area.1 Google and other such companies collect large amounts of location data from users, and law enforcement are now issuing geofence warrants to obtain this stockpile of data.2 The question now for courts is whether or not these geofence warrants violate the Fourth Amendment. In Chatrie, the defense filed a motion to suppress the geofence warrant, and surprisingly, Google filed an amicus brief.3 Google argued that its location data “is not a business record, but is a journal stored primarily for the user’s benefit and is controlled by the user.”4 Google stated that location data “can often reveal a user’s location and movements with a much higher degree of precision than [cell cite location information].”5 Google argued that a user has a Fourth Amendment right in geofence information because users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in location data.6 For those of us brothers and sisters who have ever attempted to subpoena Google information for our cases, this is quite a change from Google’s invocation of the Stored Communications Act to quash our subpoenas.

A law enforcement geofence warrant served on Google identifies a geographic area (the geofence), identifies a period of time (a few minutes to a few hours), and requests location history for all users located within the given area during the given time.7 The first geofence warrant served on Google was in 2016, and there has been a 1500% increase in geofence warrants from 2017 to 2018 in addition to a 500% increase from 2018‑2019.8 The court expressed concern that Fourth Amendment law is “materially lagging behind technological innovations.”9 The court stated that a geofence warrant provides the government with an almost unlimited pool of location data and “‘whoever the suspect turns out to be’, they have ‘effectively been tailed’” because they enabled location history.10 The court was concerned with the Fourth Amendment violation of a geofence warrant because such a warrant “authorize[s] the search of every person within a particular area” which requires the government to “establish probable cause to search every one of those persons.”11 The court also could not determine whether or not the defendant voluntarily agreed to disclose his location history.12 The court saved the government with the good faith exception but cautioned the government that it was now duly warned that geofence warrants must establish particulared probable cause.13 Where does this leave those of us who are representing the citizen accused and encounter a geofence warrant? It is thought that the Chatrie order “could make it more difficult for police to obtain the warrants in the future — and more likely that judges will suppress evidence obtained from them, experts said.”14 “There are more and more of these warrant requests going around, and judges are starting to look more closely at them, and they are becoming aware of the problem with them.”15 The great work by the federal public defender in Chatrie is a lesson to all of us in how to ensure Fourth Amendment rights and other rights of our clients are properly evaluated and analyzed. We should all keep proper vigilance in our preparation and protection of the citizen accused in the face of a geofence warrant or whatever is awaiting us in the future. Good luck to you.

President’s Message: Thank You

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I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the hard-working people who are dedicating their time and talents to making TCDLA the wonderful organization it is for our members. Each of the committee chairs and members have been such a great amount of help for me during my time this year as president.

These excellent TCDLA committees are: Affiliate, Amicus Brief Curiae, Awards, Budget and Finance, By-Laws, Cannabis, Capital Assistance, Client Mental Health, Corrections and Parole, COVID-19 Task Force, Criminal Defense Lawyers Project, Diversity, Justice & Inclusion, DWI Resource, Ethics, Executive, Health and Wellness, Indigent Client Defense, ICC, Judicial Conduct, Juvenile, Law School Students, Legislative, Listserv, Long-Range Planning, Media Relations, Membership, Memo Bank, New Lawyers, Nominations, Past Presidents, Prosecutorial Conduct, Public Defender, Reapportionment, Rural Practice, Strike Force, Technology, Transcript Database, Veterans, Voice for the Defense, and Women’s Caucus. I also want to include the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Educational Institute and local Affiliate Criminal Defense Bars.

Almost daily, TCDLA s confronted with challenges from various areas of concern. It is a relief to know that I can refer these challenges to our brilliant committees knowing that I will receive a collective consensus on how to best tackle any given issue. I always know that I will get the most astute advice possible from these outstanding individuals. After obtaining the advice from a committee, I then refer the issue to our Executive Committee for their input. I want to thank my Executive Committee for their tireless and wonderful guidance during my presidency on the many issues we have faced together. Heather Barbieri, John Hunter Smith, David Guinn, Jr., Clay Steadman, Nicole Deborde Hochglaube, Jeep Darnell, Betty Blackwell, David Moore, David Botsford, Grant Scheiner, Monique Sparks, and Paul Tu each deserve our heartfelt thanks for their dedication and contributions to TCDLA. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful support from these individuals.

Last but not least, I want to thank our hardworking TCDLA staff and their excellent leader, Melissa Schank. The number of CLE’s alone that are produced by TCDLA keeps our staff working long hours and oftentimes away from home. Thanks so much for your service to TCDLA. Melissa is the leader that keeps all of this running for TCDLA. Her fortitude, experience, thoughtfulness, and steady hand at handling the many issues confronting TCDLA is truly awesome. I cannot thank her enough. The next time any of our members are at a TCDLA function, please take the time to seek out these people and thank them for their contributions to our wonderful organization.

In the future, it is my hope that our members who have not yet taken part in our committees will take the time to help our organization continue to grow by dedicating their time to committees or any other part of our organization.

President’s Message: Situation at the Border

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In 2021, the Texas governor initiated Operation Lone Star in an attempt to arrest people who had illegally entered into Texas in the general area of Val Verde and Kinney counties. This is a multi-billion dollar operation which involved deploying approximately one thousand DPS troopers and Texas National Guardsmen in support with about 70% deployed to Val Verde and Kinney counties.1 The governor authorized these individuals to arrest migrants for trespassing and other similar charges. Id. There have been over 2500 arrests as a result of this operation with approximately 8% of these cases as felonies and 2.5% accused of those felonies being alleged migrants. Approximately $29 million was allocated by the Texas legislature to pay for attorneys, investigators, and other individuals to represent these individuals.

The Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) of Harlem opened this month an office in San Antonio, Texas to provide legal services to migrants who have been arrested as a result of Operation Lone Star.2 These NDS services are funded by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC). Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has also been providing legal services to these accused persons and has also been provided funding by TIDC for these services. The remainder of these accused persons are represented by panel attorneys.

To handle this large amount of cases, the Presiding Judge of the Sixth Administrative Judicial Region appointed three judges to ensure timely bail decisions and rule on other issues arising in these cases. The defense attorneys who are attempting to provide the best representation possible for these clients have obtained several dismissals for various reasons or bail release for delay pursuant to Article 17.151 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. These appointed judges were the judges ruling on these cases. The defense attorneys did excellent work in representing these clients before these judges and obtaining appropriate relief.

Last month, however, on December 8, 2021, the Kinney County Judge fired these three judges appointed by the Presiding Judge of the Sixth Administrative Judicial Region. See Petition for Mandamus in In re De La Cruz – De La Cruz, No. 04-21-00577-CR, San Antonio Fourth Court of Appeals. In this mandamus, it is alleged by our own Keith Hampton, Angelica Cogliano, and Addy Miro, that the Kinney County Judge ordered the termination of these three judges. Id. It is also alleged that the Kinney County Judge ordered that his court coordinator had sole authority to set court dates and docket cases for Kinney County. Id. The relator in this mandamus action, as of December 22, 2021, had spent 56 days in jail for Criminal Trespass, a Class B misdemeanor. Id. The issue in this mandamus is whether or not a county judge may sua sponte fire judges appointed by a presiding district judge of an administrative judicial region and prevent those judges from controlling their dockets. Id. As a result of the firing of these three judges, the relator remained incarcerated in the TDCJ Segovia Unit for a misdemeanor offense for which bond is authorized yet there is no setting on this case and his release on bond has been unreasonably delayed. Id. One has to wonder about the reason for the firing of these three judges. Hopefully, the reason for the firing of these three judges will be revealed during the course of this mandamus. Kudos to these TCDLA attorneys for their diligent representation of their client.

As Operation Lone Star continues to play out in Val Verde and Kinney Counties, we are confident that defense counsel will continue with such diligent representation of the more than 2500 people charged with criminal trespass and other such offenses and ensure that bail considerations are met along with other proper resolution of these cases.

President’s Message: Happy Holidays!

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“We are so grateful for all the sacrifices that you have made this year to support and serve others. May this Holiday season be a time for you to rest and recover, and to reflect on all that you have achieved.”

‑Anonymous

I do not know about all of you, but everything seems to be so much more difficult in our law practice these days. What was once easy to obtain in discovery or in witness interviews or trial preparation now seems so much harder. It sometimes feels like we are in quicksand. Add to these difficulties the strange emergence of jury trials during the pandemic. Masks and plexiglass and Zoom permeate the courtroom. In 2019 and earlier, a court coordinator could accurately tell us whether or not our case was going to trial the following week. No more. Everything seems to be in flux. These stressors may lead some to feel that our service to our clients and others is not appreciated. Ours is not an easy profession. It is not easy, for example, to enter a courtroom filled with 80 venirepersons and conduct voir dire on a murder case or other difficult case. These many stressors can sometimes be overwhelming. We have attempted to survive the pandemic and countless Zoom settings. We have maintained our law practices in spite of the difficulties resulting from the pandemic. We should remember, however, that we have adapted and overcome these stressors and should not allow them to dampen our holiday season. We are a TCDLA family and know that we may rely upon each other to get through these difficult times.

As we enter this holiday season and prepare for New Years, I hope each of us takes a moment to reflect on how our sacrifices this past year have helped and supported not only our families and friends but also our clients, their families, and their friends. My hope is that each of us may take a moment this holiday season and enjoy our families and rest up for this coming year. We need this time to recover and reflect on all that we have achieved. I wish the best for you and yours this holiday season and in 2022.

Happy Holidays!

President’s Message: Happy Veterans Day

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Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow veterans and those who support them. We remember those who went before us, those with whom we served, and those who came after us defending our great country. In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, World War I realized a temporary cessation of hostilities – an armistice – between Allied forces and Germany. In the following year, November 11, 1918, came to be known as Armistice Day as proclaimed by President Wilson: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” After World War II and Korea, the 83rd Congress decided to change “Armistice” to “Veterans” resulting in November 11th becoming a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

I am in awe of my fellow veterans – past, present, and future. My fellow United States Marines have distinguished themselves for the last 246 years in Tripoli, Chapultepec, Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, Hue City, and Fallujah. My brothers and sisters in the United States Army have distinguished themselves in the Battle of the Bulge, Normandy, Saint-Mihiel, D-Day, Naktong Bulge, Baghdad, Basra, and Haditha. My brothers and sisters in the United States Navy have distinguished themselves in the Coral Sea, Java Sea, Midway, Bismark Sea, and the China Sea. My brothers and sisters in the United States Air Force have distinguished themselves in the Berlin Airlift, MiG Alley in Korea, Operation Bolo, and Desert Storm. My brothers and sisters in the United States Coast Guard have distinguished themselves as America’s maritime first responder and protects our economic, national, and border security. Approximately 1.4 million people serve in the U.S. armed forces. That means that approximately 0.4% of the American population is active military personnel, and only about 7.3% of living Americans have ever served in the military. Id. Such an awesome responsibility on so few.

I am also proud to have served with many past and present judge advocates in all our services. Over the years, Military judge advocates have provided sage advice for commanders in all aspects of the military from courts-martial to civil affairs to rules of engagement. After military service, many of these judge advocates continue to distinguish themselves in their legal careers in the civilian sector.

What amazes me is how our veterans continue to serve their country after they leave the military – whether it be in government service or the civilian sector. I believe that the military training our veterans received enables them to overcome any obstacles placed in their way. We were all required to read and be familiar with reading lists while in the military. One book on the reading list was The Art of War by Sun Tzu who listed nine varieties of ground: (1) dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) contentious ground; (4) open ground; (5) ground of intersecting highways; (6) serious ground; (7) difficult ground; (8) hemmed-in ground; and (9) desperate ground. Sun Tzu defined desperate ground as, “Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay, is desperate ground.”

I think all of us, veterans or not, have been on desperate ground be it in our lives, in court, dealing with the government or our clients and their families, or elsewhere. I think of the criminal defense attorney battling an extremely difficult trial – be it a DWI or a capital murder death case – while dealing with the prosecution, judge, jury, or others. We can all have a sense, in this way, of what our veterans have been through during their military service. To better understand the sacrifice our veterans have given to this country and to better understand Veterans Day, I would suggest reading an outstanding non-fiction book, On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides. This book provides you with a glimpse of our armed forces at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. This book also informs you about how our military forces have overcome extreme difficulties in the defense of our country and why we should, indeed, observe Veterans Day.

President’s Message: October 2021

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As I write this article today, the second special session of the Texas legislature has ended, and the Texas Denial of Bail for Certain Crimes Amendment (2021) did not pass. As a result, this proposed constitutional amendment currently will not be on the November 2, 2021, ballot in Texas as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. This amendment was designed to authorize a judge or magistrate to deny bail for certain crimes including violent or sexual offenses or continuous trafficking of persons. The Texas legislature, however, is scheduled to begin its third special session with five agenda items on September 20, 2021. Fortunately, this constitutional amendment is not on the current agenda. I want to thank our outstanding lobbyists – Allen Place, Shea Place, and David Gonzalez – and our excellent legislative committee for their wonderful efforts regarding this proposed amendment and many other legislative issues they successfully faced during this legislative year.

The Texas legislature, unfortunately, passed S.B. No. 6 “relating to rules for setting the amount of bail, to the release of certain defendants on a monetary bond or personal bond, to related duties of certain officers taking bail bonds and of a magistrate in a criminal case, to charitable bail organizations, and to the reporting of information pertaining to bail bonds.” This bill is forty pages in length and covers many bail issues. The bill requires a public safety report (risk assessment) on all offenses Class B and higher. The final version of this bill dropped the broad limitation on charitable bail organizations but retained some reporting requirements for charitable bail organizations. One concerning issue regarding this bill is as follows: “Except as provided by Article 15.21 (Release on personal bond if not timely demanded), Article 17.033 (Release on bond of certain persons arrested without a warrant), and Article 17.151 (Release because of delay), this bail bill amends Article 17.03 (Personal bond) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, effective September 1, 2021, by eliminating personal bonds for the following: (1) persons charged with an offense involving violence (murder, capital murder, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, trafficking of persons, continuous trafficking of persons, continuous sexual abuse of young child or disabled individual, indecency with a child, assault where the offense is a felony family violence or a second degree felony committed against a judge or peace officer lawfully discharging their duties or in retaliation, sexual assault, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, injury to a child/elderly/disabled individual, repeated violation of certain court orders, continuous violence against the family, aggravated robbery, taking or attempting to take a weapon from an officer, aggravated promotion of prostitution, compelling prostitution, or sexual performance by a child); or (2) while released on bail or on community supervision for an offense involving violence, persons charged with committing any felony or with assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, or disorderly conduct involving a firearm. A citizen accused of these offenses, however, may still bail out with a surety or with cash bail for those listed offenses.”

It is very concerning how indigent citizens and minorities will be adversely affected by S.B. No. 6. Many citizens charged with these offenses are currently able to be released from jail only by using a personal bond because of the very low amount required to be paid for release. How many citizens will be denied bail merely because they will be unable to afford a surety or cash bond? This bill will have a dramatic impact on county jails and magistrates. Jail populations will be increased resulting in a financial burden on counties throughout Texas. With respect to these and other adverse effects resulting from this bill, it was recently reported that, “Last month, the ACLU of Texas sent a letter to all 254 counties in Texas informing them that following the law “might land them in court.” SB6 “conflict[s] with our constitutional right to pretrial liberty and the presumption of innocence,” it said in a statement.1 Time will tell how our brothers and sisters in the criminal defense bar will handle these changes to the bail system in Texas. I want to let all of you know, however, that the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association is here to help you with these and other challenges all of us face every day by providing the best continuing legal education possible.

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