Nevermind that the purpose of bail is not to punish a person but is, instead, a means of guaranteeing his appearance in court.
On December 3, 2008, the Harris County Criminal Courts last amended their Standards and Procedures [for] Appointment of Counsel for Indigent Defendants pursuant to the Fair Defense Act.
1.0 Financial Standards for Determining IndigencyThe indigency standards adopted by the judges shall apply to each defendant equally, regardless of whether the defendant is in custody or out on bail.1.1 A judge shall consider the following criteria as incorporated by the form adopted by the board of judges in determining whether a defendant is indigent:1.1.1 defendant's income;1.1.2 source of income;1.1.3 assets;1.1.4 property owned;1.1.5 outstanding obligations;1.1.6 necessary expenses;1.1.7 the number of ages of dependents; and1.1.8 spousal incomes available to defendant.1.2 The judge shall not consider whether the defendant has posted bail, except to the extent that it reflects the defendant's financial circumstances.
In Galveston County I have been appointed to represent many a defendant who has posted bond, yet is still eligible for "appointed" counsel (much more on this topic later); yet in Harris County most of the client's for the appointed attorney are still donning the orange jumpsuits of the Harris County Jail.
Many of the misdemeanor defendants were charged with nonviolent offenses yet were denied personal bonds due to the magistrates' strict obedience to the Harris County bond schedule (misdemeanor and felony). The denial of personal bonds (and the subsequent refusal to request one) lead to the mass plea in which defendants "voluntarily" waive their rights to trial by jury, confrontation and appeal in exchange for time served so they can get out of jail and back to their families or jobs.
Convictions based upon expediency and judicial economy -- not on the merits. That's not justice.