The most recent example involves two women arrested for theft while they were already on “deferred adjudication” for a similar crime. This means they had pleaded “guilty” or “no contest” to a previous crime, but the court agreed to dismiss the charges if the women completed certain steps, such as probation or community service.
The women were arrested Dec. 13 at Baybrook Mall after police say they stole items from stores including Victoria’s Secret and Sephora, all while their children were nearby. Carmen Ramirez and Jacquelin Partida each paid $50 on a $500 bond to get out of jail on theft charges.
Though the charges were minor, authorities cry foul because the women were still under the terms of their deferred adjudication when the new crimes were committed.
Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, says judges and courts are allowing repeat offenders to continue their crimes by offering low bonds and failing to increase the stakes when alleged criminals reoffend.
“We’ve got lots of persons who are on bond, commit another offense, get another bond, commit another offense, get another bond,” explained Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union. “It happens every day in the criminal justice system.”
He also alleges Ramirez is in the country illegally, yet authorities did not contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement after she was detained for a crime.
“We’re not for deporting people simply because they’re here illegally, but when you’re here illegally and you’re violating our laws, multiple times … To my knowledge, ICE wasn’t even contacted on this person,” Hunt explained.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office says it is working to get the women’s bail revoked.
This is not the first time the police union is accusing the courts of becoming a revolving door.
Earlier this month, police alleged Dale Franklin, a man who’s been arrested 32 times over the past decade, is a “career criminal” who treats the court system as a revolving door. In that case, Hunt argues Franklin, who is currently awaiting trial for the latest charges, should no longer be allowed bail.