Defense attorneys and judges discussing bail reform in Brazos County

Published: Aug. 2, 2019 at 8:20 PM CDT
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Local defense attorneys and judges are working together to examine the fairness and effectiveness of Brazos County’s current bail bond system.

Bail reform is a hot topic of conversation around the nation and is bringing up questions of whether the current system in place works best for Brazos County. Attorneys say in some cases bail is set too high.

"You are presumed innocent until you are proven guilty,” said defense attorney John Quinn. “Just because you have been arrested doesn’t mean you are guilty, and it’s already costing you money for something they haven’t proven you did. That seems to fly in the face of that presumption."

One of the ideas being discussed is standardized bail.

"Some counties around us, like Madison County, have a standardized bond schedule. So it says if 'this is what you got arrested for, and if there are no aggravating factors, this is what your bond will be,' " said Quinn.

Sonny Ellen, a local bail bondsman, disagrees. He has been in business in Bryan for almost 50 years. He says in that time, bail reform has been brought up multiple times.

"Standardized bonds, in my opinion, are ridiculous,” said Ellen.

Ellen believes there is nothing wrong with the system currently in place in Brazos County.

"There is a good system in place, so why? I think it goes back to the old question, why do you want to fix it if it’s not broke?" said Ellen.

Several attorneys and judges were scheduled to meet Friday at the Brazos County Courthouse to discuss the possible changes, but the meeting was postponed.

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