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The Bail Post

The Bail Post

Author: PBT Team

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The Bail Post seeks to be a place where legislators and the public can educate themselves on a host of criminal justice/bail reform issues.  With various attempts at criminal justice reform from New York to Texas to California, many people are confused as to what is working and what is not.  With the passage of time, more and more information is coming to light over what successful reform looks like and what reforms have been found to not be working.  The rise in violent crime across the country has been startling and law makers and the public alike are desperate to find legislation that is effective.   Ares some of the reforms making the situation worse?  The Bail Post is an on-going discussion that seeks to cut to the core to provide education on the various issues raised and to highlight what successful criminal justice reform looks like and what measures have been disastrous. Join us and educate yourself about the best practices that jurisdictions must implement to keep their communities safe, while ensuring fairness to defendants.

If you would like to listen other episodes of The Bail Post you can find a subject matter index of the different episodes at-

The host is Ken W. Good; an attorney in Tyler, Texas who has been licensed for over 30 years.  He has argued cases before the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  Mr. Good has written a book on bail called "Goods On Bail."  He has also has had numerous papers published on Criminal Justice Reform issues.  Mr. Good is a board member of PBT and serves on the legislative committee.  Mr. Good is married and has two daughters.

42 Episodes
On this episode of The Bail Post, we discuss two different counties approaches to federal bail litigation.  In both counties, the federal courts entered preliminary injunctions to fundamentally change local bail procedures.  In Schultz v. Alabama, the county appealed, refused to settle and fought the litigation every step of the way.  The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the preliminary injunction and returned control of bail back to the county.  In contrast, in O'Donnell v. Harris County, the county appealed and won only to have the trial court enter a new preliminary injunction.  It was appealed as well and the 5th Circuit stayed the 2nd preliminary injunction stating that there was a substantial likelihood that the judges would win again.  However, the case did not go forward because there was an election and new judges were elected who promised to resolve the litigation.  A settlement was entered that tied the hands of the judges going forward.  On this episode, we hear the tale of two counties:  one that stood up to the plaintiffs' attorneys and won and another county that gave up and is still suffering the consequences to this day.The Guest is Matt Gentry who is the Sheriff of Cullman County, Alabama.  Sheriff Gentry was born and raised in Cullman County.  He attended school there.  After a stint in the Marines he returned home and went to work for the sheriff's department where he worked he way up to be the elected sheriff.  
Anne Marie Schubert is a career prosecutor.  Schubert earned a bachelor's degree from Saint Mary’s College of California in 1986 and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1989. Her career experience includes being the Sacramento County District Attorney, Supervising Deputy District Attorney of the Sacramento District Attorney's Office, and Deputy District Attorney of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Schubert has been a board member of the National District Attorneys Association and has been affiliated with Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and Stand Up for Victims.On this episode of The Bail Post we discuss whether California have reached a breaking point with rising crime and criminal justice reform.  If you would like to learn more about the letter issued by the Oakland NAACP CLICK HERE.
In Texas, the new rules for magistration went into effect on April 1, 2022 that required the review of a Public Safety Report setting out the defendant's criminal history before bail is set.  On Episode Number 40 of The Bail Post we discuss the lessons that have been learned after magistrating under the new rules for the last year.  Our guest is The Honorable Tamara Tinney who is a magistrate judge from Burnett County.  We discuss issues regarding certification of magistrations, bond modifications and other issues using the OCA System.  Other issues discussed involve the illusive solution regarding mental health patients in the criminal justice system and the impact on drug abuse.
On this Episode of The Bail Post we get a report of the Texas Legislative Session looking at Criminal Justice Issues including SB 1318, SJR 44, HB 227 and others.  We also touch on whether bail will be part of any upcoming Special Sessions and the elephant in the room regarding the Impeachment trial planned for September. Our guest is the PBT Legislative Committee Chair- Scott Walstad.
On May 1, 2023, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1627.  The bill was described as Florida's response to disastrous “bad bail reforms” being pushed by liberal politicians and prosecutors in high-crime jurisdictions throughout the country.In this episode of the Bail Post we discuss HB 1627 and other bail bills passed in the most recent Florida Legislative Session.  Several highlights of the legislations is that the bill:Requires the Florida Supreme Court to develop a uniform statewide bond schedule by the end of the year; andProhibits the chief judge of a judicial circuit from setting a lower bond amount for a criminal offense than the uniform statewide bond schedule. “In Florida, we stand for the rule of law, we back our blue, and we treat offenders as they should be treated — not as victims, but as criminals who deserve to be behind bars,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.“ That’s one of the reasons why we are the fastest growing state in the nation. I am grateful for Governor DeSantis’ strong leadership in advocating for, and signing, new laws that go after fentanyl traffickers and keep violent and repeat offenders behind bars to protect Floridians and our millions of visitors.” Our guest is Shawn Foster who has worked with the Florida Bail Agents Association before the Florida Legislature for the last 8 years.  
New York recently passed the third or fourth round of roll backs of the bail reform it passed at the start of the pandemic.  On this Episode of The Bail Post we learn all about the bail reforms that New York passed and the various roll backs passed since.  Our guest is Michelle Esquenazi who is the President of The National Association of Bail Agents.
On the 36th episode of the Bail Post we talk about the importance of accountability in bail and in the Criminal Justice System in general.  Our guest is the Honorable Maria T. Jackson who has been the presiding Judge of the 339th State District Court in Houston, Harris County, Texas since the election of 2008 until she decided not to run for re-election.Judge Jackson received her B.A. degree in Political Science from The University of Texas at Arlington.  She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Texas A&M School of Law formerly Texas Wesleyan School of Law.In 2014, Judge Jackson was named one of the “Top 30 Most Influential Women of Houston.” In 2015, Judge Jackson was recognized again for her judicial service to the community by the Lebanon Times magazine. She was a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Black Heritage Honoree, a Houston Bar Association-CLE distinguished member, and recognized by Houston’s Influential 40 Under 40. The Houston Sun honored Judge Jackson the “Women of Power and Purpose” award in 2013. She is a sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party. She is a member of the Lakewood Church. She is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
In the bail reform debate, periodically we hear that changes should emulate the Washington D.C. system of bail which replaced the private sector of bail and with a government pretrial services department. The guest for this episode of The Bail Post is a life long resident of Washington D.C.  He is Frederick Douglas Cooke, Jr. and he was born and raised in the District of Columbia.  He attended the District of Columbia public school system and graduated from McKinley Technical High School in 1965.    After high school, Mr. Cooke enrolled at Howard University and graduated in 1969 with a degree in Psychology and a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force.  Mr.  Cooke deferred some of his U.S. Air Force service and enrolled at the Howard University School of Law where he was Managing Editor of the Howard Law Journal and Chairman of the National Conference of Law Reviews for the 1971-1972 school year.  He graduated with honors from the Law School in 1972.  Upon graduation,  Cooke served as the Law Clerk for the Hon. George W. Draper, II an Associate Judge of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.  In 1973, Cooke was appointed a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Department of the U.S. Air Force and served four years in that capacity.In 1977, Cooke returned to the District and joined a large corporate law firm specializing in telecommunications, higher education, entertainment, and corporate law.  He became a partner in that law firm 1982.  In 1987, he was appointed by Mayor Marion Barry to serve as the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia (now called the Attorney General for the District of Columbia) where he was the head of a law office of about 250 lawyers and an equal number of support staff.In 1990, he left government service and returned to the private practice of law.  In his practice, he works primarily on governmental relations, municipal finance, telecommunications, land use, public contracting, sports, advertising, litigation, intellectual property education, general corporate matters, and civil and criminal litigation matters.Join our discussion as we discuss bail reform, learn about the Washington D.C. bail system and surprisingly find common ground on what works and what does not work on bail reform issues.
Over the last few years, reformers have been advocating that changes should be made to the Criminal Justice System on the grounds that bail was not needed; that defendants would go to court anyway.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these policies were used and gave us a preview of what the bail reform movement would look like if the policies were retained after the pandemic.  Jeff Reisig is the Independent District Attorney for Yolo County in California.  Mr. Reisig released two reports looking at recidivism (new crime) rates of defendants released on zero bail in Yolo County.  The first report was issued in August 2022 and found that over 70% of the individuals released on zero bail committed new crimes within 18 months of release.One of the criticisms to this report was that there was no control group of individuals released on surety bail to give any kind of comparison.  Therefore, in February 2023, an updated analysis was released adding a comparison or control group to see if there was a difference in outcomes for individuals released on bail vs. individuals released on zero bail.  The results were shocking.  Individuals simply released committed new crimes at a substantially higher rate and more quickly than individuals released on surety bail.  Why was there such a difference?  Join us for this episode of The Bail Post.If you would like to see the August 2022 report- CLICK HERE.If you would like to see the February 2023 analysis- CLICK HERE.
Our guest today is the current district clerk of Tarrant County, Texas, Tom Wilder.  Tom took office in 1995 and was recently re-elected for another 4-year term last November.  He serves on the Tarrant County Information Technology Steering Committee, Justice Executive Planning Committee, Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, E-Gov Committee, and chairs the Tarrant County Bail Bond Board.  Mr. Wilder sits on the Board of Directors for the District Court Alliance and is a member of the County and District Clerks' Association.  He also is an associate member of the Tarrant County Bar Association and sits on the TVAS (Pro Bono) Committee.Prior to being elected District Clerk, he was the owner of the Wilder Company, a Commercial Real Estate Services firm for 25 years.  In 1987, Tom was appointed by Governor Bill Clements as a board member of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, the largest real estate research body in the USA.  He served there for over seven years and was elected chairman 1991-1992.Mr. Wilder has received two statewide Best Practices Awards from the Texas Association of Counties and special recognition from the Texas House of Representatives for cost efficient operation of the District Clerk's office.He is here today to talk about local government and update what is happening in the District Clerk's office.  Mr. Wilder has been active in National, State, and local politics beginning in 1962 on the college campus of the University of Dallas.  
On March 31, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down the long awaited second en banc opinion in Daves v. Dallas County.  The opinon has some strident language.  The court of appeals held that neither Daves v. Dallas County, nor ODonnell v. Harris County should have ever been litigated in federal court.  On this weeks episode of The Bail Post we discuss the new opinion from the Fifth Circuit and address its potential impact the opinion will have.If you would like to listen to our discussion of Daves v. Dallas County 1 you can find that podcast by CLICKING HERE.If you would like to read the opinion CLICK HERE.
The Honorable Ron Rangel is the sitting judge for the 379th District Court in Bexar County.  He has been served for 15 years.  Join us on this episode of The Bail Post as we learn about Bexar County justice.  Judge Rangel also discusses how COVID impacted the Bexar County Criminal Justice System.  Other issues include implementation of SB6 and bail reform issues.
Shawn Foster has worked with the Florida Bail Agents Association before the Florida Legislature for the last 8 years.  On this episode of The Bail Post, instead of soaking up the Florida sun, we are soaking up "Florida Bail."  Learn how the Florida's bail system and legislative process work.  See if they are doing something that could be beneficial to Texas as well.
Tillmin Welch have been a bondsmen for over 30 years.  He is a past president of the Professional Bondsmen of Texas.  He is a former board member.  He has been honored as Bondsmen of The Year and has been awarded a honorary lifetime membership.  He is also the former long serving chair of the PBT Legislative Committee.  Join us as we discuss how PBT has navigated past legislative sessions.Tillmin also discusses how he has helped families to get loved ones to change from their ways to get a way from drugs and gangs.  Even in retirement, Tillmin is active in prison ministries and continues to mentor to men in prison.
Randy Cauthen has a unique perspective on bail.  Randy worked in law enforcement for over 27 years.  After retiring, Randy was not ready to be idle.  So he began a second career in the bail industry.  He is the President of the North Carolina Bail Agents Association and was a 2019 inductee into the Hall of Fame for the bail agents association.  Join us as we learn about how bail operates in North Carolina and we compare it to how bail operates in Texas.
Season 2 is HERE!  This season begins much like the way that Season 1 began; a back to basics.  We start Season 2 by asking the question of "Why is the private surety system so effective?"  Throughout the United States the different release mechanisms used can be grouped into four categories:  the private surety bail system, cash bonds, personal bonds and preventative detention.  The private surety system has the lowest failure to appear rate by far of any the release mechanisms used.  Why is it so much more effective than any other release mechanism?  Join this episode of The Bail Post to learn more.
Josh Tetens has been practicing law throughout Central Texas since 2006.   He originally came to Waco in 1997 to attend Baylor University where he graduated with a Bachelor's degree.  Following that, he went to Baylor Law School graduating in 2005.  Josh applied for jobs as a prosecutor but was not able to find a position.  Therefore, he set up his own office and grew as a  criminal defense attorney.  In the most recent campagin season, Josh Tetens was approached to run against the sitting District Attorney.  After a brusing campaign, Josh won the primary by 40 points.  Josh went on to win the general election on November 8th and will take office in January.  On this espisode of The Bail Post we learn about Josh Tetens, his decisision to run for District Attorney, the campaign and the issues he sees facing him as he takes office.
SB 6 was a major bail reform bill passed in the last Texas Legislative Session.  As a part of the reforms, SB 6 enacted 17.027 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure which applies when a defendant is out on bond for a felony charge and is arrested again on a new felony charge in the same county.  Article 17.027 states that the defendant must be magistrated by the judge over his pending case.  The statute also says that the provision is not to be interpreted to change the timing requirements set out in article 15.17 (which requires magistration within 48 hours of arrest).  On today's episode, Guest Thomas R. Cox, III discusses how this provision is being implemented in Dallas County.  We also discuss other criminal justice reform issues on this episode of The Bail Post.
On this episode of our podcast, we discuss the impact of rising crime on economic development.  In areas across the country we are seeing the impact of bad bail reform policies where business are suffering or closing because of decriminalization policies.  Our guest is Eric Granof who has been a guest in the past.  Eric discusses a recent presentation he gave at annual meeting for PBT on this matter.  Eric is also working on paper on the subject.Eric Granof is the Vice President, Corporate Communications Chief Marketing Officer – Expert Bail Network, AIA Surety.
Sean Kennedy is a writer and public policy expert focusing on crime, justice, and urban policy. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, City Journal, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.In August 2021, Mr. Kennedy wrote an article entitled, "Losing the Victory Over Crime" and he joins us to discuss his article.  This article was the original idea for a series of article that appear in the Quarterly Newsletters for PBT this year.Join us as we address how our urban areas lost the victory over crime.
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