Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ex-judge named Harris County jail czarina

Interesting news that ex-State District Judge Caprice Cosper has been named to head a commission to figure out what to do about the overcrowded Harris County Jail. No one from the defense bar was named to the committee.

(Author's note: I made a mistake in the original post. I got Ms. Cosper and former judge Devon Anderson mixed up when I commented that Ms. Cosper was joined at the hip with Brock Thomas. I offer my sincere apologies for that mistake. In my defense, however, it can be hard keeping track of all the roadkill left after the Democrats' near sweep in the 2008 judicial contests in Harris County.)

Ms. Cosper had already returned to the public trough as executive assistant to County Commissioner Steve Radack. Old habits die hard.

As for the state of the Harris County Jail? As of this past Monday (July 13, 2009), of the 11,107 people housed in the jail, 6,064 were awaiting trial. That means that 55% of the people housed in the county jail are folks who either couldn't afford to post bond or who were being held without bond. That is absurd!

According to the Eighth Amendment, a court may not set an unreasonable bond. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has held that bail should not be punitive. Something's wrong when over half the jail population hasn't even been convicted of anything. So much for the presumption of innocence.


Mark Bennett said...

Caprice attached at the hip to Brock? I've only ever seen Devon there.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Thank you for pointing out the error, Mark. The post has been corrected.