Will Sandra Bland’s death help lead to bail reform?

That would be a fitting and just outcome if it does.

Sandra Bland

Harris County and the state should reform an unfair bond system that punishes the poor more harshly, according to civil rights leaders, legislative officials and criminal experts who gathered Wednesday in front of the county’s criminal justice center. Reform, they argued, could prevent another tragedy like that involving Sandra Bland, who was found dead in her Waller County jail cell in July after failing to make bail.

“The death of Sandra Bland was a travesty of justice,” said Johnny Mata of the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice. “Sandra Bland would probably be alive today if Texas would’ve had a system that is fair.”


Advocates familiar with the bail process and statutes like the Fair Defense Act said it never should have come to that.

“There’s still an investigation being done,” Mata said of Bland’s death, which an autopsy shows was a suicide by hanging. “We respect that. However, we feel that an injustice has been committed.”

His coalition reflects more than 25 organizations across the area. He was joined Wednesday by experts like law professor Sandra Guerra Thomspon, director of the University of Houston Law Center’s Criminal Justice Institute, who said the need for bail reform is a national concern but is especially needed in Houston.

By following pre-determined bail schedules, magistrates ignore their responsibility to take individual factors into consideration to ensure that the bond does not merely become a punishment for being poor, she and others argued. Instead it’s meant to reflect an individual’s flight risk and potential public safety concerns. Had a more nuanced risk assessment instrument been used in Bland’s case, she argued, “the question would not be, ‘Does she have $500?’ but, ‘Is she a risk to come to court?'”


In Texas, defendants are supposed to have the added protection of the Fair Defense Act passed in 2001. The act, authored by [Sen. Rodney] Ellis, addresses issues like indigent defense and the timely appointment of counsel. But it also contains language about when a defendant should be granted representation. According to some, that right extends to the bond hearing itself, though this is rarely ever the case. Hargrave said in her more than 20 years of working in Waller County, an individual never had a defense lawyer present during the bond hearing.

Advocates also question what they see as the low rate of personal bonds granted to individuals. If an individual is granted a personal bond, he or she is released on the promise to appear in court. Only 7 percent of bonds issued in Harris County are personal bonds, according to Randall Kallinen, a lawyer and the former head of the Houston chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

With so few personal bonds issued, said Kallinen, “the person who has the money gets out.” In other words, “the Harris County jail is housing poor people,” he said.

I’ve written about this topic a number of times, usually in the context of jail overcrowding, but Sandra Bland’s death is a tragic reminder of another aspect of people not being able to post bail: A significant number of people die in jail every year. Grits puts a number to it: “183 have died in Sheriffs’ custody since January 2014, including 80 so far in 2015, a statistic which includes Sandra Bland and appears on pace to exceed last year’s number.” There are many different reasons why these deaths happen, and unfortunately the data we have doesn’t go into much detail about them, but the point is that some number of those people shouldn’t have been in jail at all, and wouldn’t have been there if they could have posted bail. This is not acceptable.

On a related note, the Texas Senate has convened a committee to study jail safety standards, which was another issue in Sandra Bland’s death. This is commendable, and I hope it produces some action items for the next Legislature, but 1) any such legislation is two years away from being enacted; 2) there’s no guarantee anything ever gets passed, and; 3) fixing how bail is set is something that can be done right now. Kudos to the Senate for addressing this, but let’s not lose sight of what’s right in front of us. More from Grits here.

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49 Responses to Will Sandra Bland’s death help lead to bail reform?

  1. Steven Houston says:

    I’m all for bail reform but this is a poor case to base it on when you look at the details. I’m sure Paul or his brother Mike could provide far better insight on the topic but think about this for a second; exactly why does ANYONE think Ms. Bland would be a good pick for a PR bond?

    She had a lengthy record of violations in recent years, including not showing up for court (DUI, traffic, drugs, etc.), was about to start a temporary job, came from out of state with no local family, and here’s the kicker, still owed over $7600 in fines and fees to the courts. I’d be surprised if a bail company would give her the usual 10% rate.


  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    You can’t bond fines and fees. If showed $7,600 the only way to get her out early would be to have a family member pay the fine. In fact if you did give her a pr bond as soon as she hit the jail she would be in jail for a very long time before she got rid of the $7,600.

  3. Steven Houston says:

    PK, as I understand it, the fines and such owed were from the Chicago area so she was not held on those, only the $5000 bond for the assault on the peace officer. I was curious if that 10% of the bond amount everyone kept talking about was standard no matter how unlikely it was she would have shown up to court or if a reasonable businessman, such as your brother, would take into account her lengthy history, existing fines, and other circumstances to require her to pay more for the increased risk. In any case, I disagree with those who think she was a good candidate for a PR bond based on those circumstances.

  4. Jules says:

    “Those circumstances” are part of the problem. She probably should never have had all those fines and fees. Ferguson isn’t an anomaly. It looks like Sandra Bland didn’t have a lot of money.

  5. Paul Kubosh says:

    When considering whether or not to underwrite a bond I recommend that bonding companies look at the following information:

    1) Size of Bond,

    2) Charge Felony/Misdemeanor

    3) Projected offer

    4) ties to the community, and

    5) collateral for the bond.

    The 10% standard is far from a rule. In fact where it is competitive like here in Harris County the average rate for such a bond would probably be less than 10%.

    In Harris County there are a lot of bondsmen, my guess is that on the charge she received if she would have had a relative that cared enough for her to contact a bondsman then that bound would have been made @ 10% or better.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:


    In my opinion the D.P.S. trooper should never have arrested her. He should have wrote the ticket and moved on. He was wrong. However, he didn’t kill her.

  7. Steven Houston says:

    PK, that seems reasonable enough. Ms. Bland was charged with a felony, had limited ties to the community (a month long temp job at her alma mater from 6 years prior), and no collateral as well as the lengthy criminal history. Thanks! (though I disagree about arresting her, once she kicked him, there was no way she was driving off into the sunset, it just not have gone that far)

    Jules: “She probably should never have had all those fines and fees”
    Ans: I’m sure that fits your notion of her record but here’s part of it, including the drug use, DUI, driving without insurance, speeding, lane changes, and such. She was no newbie to the bonding game up north or in this area though there is no record she ever held a job either in the 6 years since graduating, during her school years, or prior. Pick your martyrs wisely in the future.

    Sandra Bland – who was vocal on the issue of police encounters with African Americans in the months leading up to her death in a jail cell in Texas — had at least 10 encounters herself with police in both Illinois and Texas in past years.
    And NBC5 Investigates has found that – at the time of her death last Friday — she still owed a total of $7,579.00 in court fines resulting from five traffic stops in various Chicago suburbs (including a DUI), and she had been cited several times for her failure to pay those fines.
    Bland was found dead in her jail cell Monday at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas. She had been arrested Friday in Waller County on a charge of assaulting a public servant. Her death has been ruled a suicide by what police called “self-inflicted asphyxiation.”
    March of 2013 – Bland was stopped in Crestwood Township while driving a 2013 Cadillac DeVille and received two citations – for speeding 21-25 mph above the limit, and for operating an uninsured motor vehicle. She was fined $200, which – according to Cook County Court records – has not been paid.
    Suburban Chicago Woman Found Hanged in Texas Jail Cell[CHI] Suburban Chicago Woman Found Hanged in Texas Jail Cell
    Sandra Bland, 28, of suburban Villa Park, was a graduate of Willowbrook High School. She traveled last week from Chicago to Waller County Texas, where she was scheduled to begin a new job at a local college. On Monday, she was found dead. NBC Chicago’s Phil Rogers investigates. (Published Wednesday, July 15, 2015)
    November of 2013 – A report in a suburban newspaper says that Bland was arrested in Naperville; charged on a warrant, and transported to DuPage County Jail. The news report does not say what the warrant was for.
    February of 2014 – Bland was stopped by Lombard Police and charged with operating an uninsured motor vehicle and driving with expired license plates. She was convicted in both charges and fined, but by May of 2014 court records show that she still owed $2,769.00 in fines, and the judge ordered that the Illinois Secretary of State be notified of her failure to pay.
    March 3, 2014 – Naperville Police cited Bland for operating an uninsured motor vehicle. Court records show she was ordered to pay a fine, but was cited twice for failure to pay. In June of 2014 the court ordered that the Illinois Secretary of State be notified, and the docket lists a $1,313.00 balance still due.
    March 8, 2014 – Approximately five days after her stop in Naperville, Bland was stopped by police in Lombard and charged with two counts of driving under the influence; speeding 15-20 mph over the speed limit; improper lane usage; disobeying a traffic control signal; failing to signal when changing lanes; driving on a suspended license, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. The court found her guilty of one DUI charge, and all the other charges were dismissed. She received court supervision and was fined, and court records show that she still owes $3,132.00 in this case. (A spokesman with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office says Bland’s driver’s license was automatically suspended for six months – until November of 2014 – as a result of this DUI conviction.)
    During that suspension – in May of 2014 – Naperville Police cited Bland for speeding 15-20 mph over the limit. According to the DuPage County court docket, Bland “fail[ed] to comply” in the case in June of 2014 and again in August of 2014, when the court ordered the Illinois Secretary of State to be notified. Records show a $45.00 balance due in this case, though a court spokesman says the actual amount owed is $165.00. The outcome in this case is not clear.
    These notifications would have come up when Bland next tried to renew her license, according to the Illinois Secretary of State spokesman, and she would be required to pay all balances due.

    NBC5 Investigates found five other police encounters involving Sandra Bland ranging from 2010 back to 2004:
    May of 2010 – Bland was charged in two separate court cases in Harris County, Texas, for misdemeanor possession of a small amount of marijuana and driving while intoxicated. Court records show that the DWI charge was dismissed, but Bland pled guilty in September of 2010 to the pot charge.
    April of 2009 – Bland was charged in Harris County with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, but the charge was dismissed.
    June of 2005 – Bland was stopped by police in Oakbrook Terrace and charged with two traffic violations: Driving too fast for conditions or failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. She pled guilty to both charges; was given supervision, and paid a fine.
    June of 2004 – Bland was charged by Elmhurst police with one count of retail theft of less than $150. She pled guilty to that charge in August of 2004; paid a fine; and was sentenced to community service and supervision.

    Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    I agree should have been arrested when she kicked him but the officer should have walked away after giving her the ticket. Have a good day.

  9. matx says:

    Is the list of outstanding fines and warrants posted for Ms. Bland is just a way to justify her death in custody in Waller County? I’d love to have seen a list like that for George W. Bush–oh, I forgot, white privilege (on top of being scion of the Bush dynasty).

  10. Steven Houston says:

    PK, I wish he had given her the warning to sign and be done with it too. Oner of these days, DPS will release the detailed version of the trooper’s narrative, as in what he was ordering her out of the car to accomplish, had he made up his mind to arrest her at that point, etc. Just because he had the authority to arrest her doesn’t mean he should have.

    Matx: I posted the list because clearly “Jules” had never seen them before when he stated: “She probably should never have had all those fines and fees.” The local media is cherry picking what stories to release in order to sell papers and sell a specific narrative. Her long list of encounters was run by all the other major media outlets across the country but surprisingly absent here, just like the trooper’s list of 1500+ traffic stops in less than a year being scrutinized by leading experts in racial profiling who found no evidence that he profiled. If they stopped coverage altogether, that would be one thing but selectively leaving stories like those and her lack of employment is problematic because it helps people understand the totality of circumstances better. Given Bland supporters running around telling the world the trooper was profiling, what a big “up and comer” Bland was, how she was so clearly destined for greater things and onward, sharing data like this helps fill in some of the blanks.

  11. Jules says:

    It sounds like a lot of those fees and fines are for being poor.

  12. matx says:

    Steven Houston – saying this as a beneficiary of white privilege, and growing up in the Chicago area and living in Houston for over 20 years – there is a lot of stuff on that list that would never had made it as far as a ticket, fine and jail time if the perpetrator had been white. In places like Crestwood, Naperville and Lombard Sandra Bland sure as heck would have profiled by cops for a traffic stop. Friends of mine could cry/smile/talk their way out of tickets for speeding or other driving infractions – in Chicagoland. I will admit since the Chicago area is so segregated, I didn’t have many friends or acquaintances who were not white, so my interactions with POC were very limited growing up.

  13. Steven Houston says:

    Jules, perhaps you might want to read the list over again?!? I’m not trying to be snippy but DUI, drugs, repeatedly driving without insurance (yet in new cars), and stealing all seem fair game for color blind enforcement. By multiple accounts, she had a lead foot which is perhaps the biggest “Hey cop, pull me over” offense going.

    Matx, given the sheer list of charges and different communities, I think you are exaggerating regarding your white privilege getting friends off the hook. White people are charged with those offenses every day, crying or flirting be darned, and I question her need to drive on a suspended driver license so often given her lack of employment (which in Illinois, would qualify her for an occupational license had she found work).

  14. matx says:

    Mr. Houston – please tell me again why these are relevant to the fact that Ms. Bland died in the custody of Waller County? Instead of questioning why she had to drive on a suspended license, why not question why she had to die in jail? (BTW, I really do not think I am exaggerating white privilege – sure, white people get charged for the very same offenses everyday- people who identify as “white” are still a plurality of the population so statistically they can’t avoid it)

  15. Steven Houston says:

    As stated, her lengthy history of criminal activity, her lack of local ties, her lack of gainful employment, her lack of collateral, and her current debts to a multitude of courts all made giving her a PR bond unreasonable and unwise.

    As far as why she killed herself in jail custody, all those factors sure didn’t help her state of mind when she did herself in. She chose the time and the place of her death for her own reasons which we will likely never know.

    White privilege: I’m acquainted with enough police to know they do not generally let people of any color go for driving without insurance or equivalent, for drugs, for theft, and for driving under the influence. The trooper was initially going to “let her go” with a warning ticket until she refused his lawful order to get out of her car so you claim white people get special treatment all the time, or sidestep it by suggesting rich white people get special treatment, but I just haven’t seen police trying to “avoid” catching white criminals or any other kind of criminals in this part of the country.

  16. matx says:

    Mr. Houston – there isn’t even any evidence that Ms. Bland should have been arrested – I haven’t seen any dashcam evidence to see where she assaulted the trooper. It is strictly his word alone as far as I know which sent her to jail. She should not have died in Waller County custody because she should not have been there. Period. Stop.

    We could argue about white privilege all day long and into next week, but I do believe that there is such a thing as white privilege during interactions with law enforcement. I even believe there is sometimes no interaction with law enforcement when there should be simply because of race. It may be irrational, but there seem to be far more incidences of people of color who die because of law enforcement than whites. I do know what is said by people who don’t realize that just because one shares the same ethnicity or race, doesn’t mean they share the same attitudes towards those who don’t.

    Thanks – have a good day.

  17. Jules says:

    There should be no fines or penalty for driving without registration or insurance if the person gets the required insurance or registration in a specified time period. Registration and insurance belong to the vehicle, it’s unclear if she was the owner.

    Petty theft more than 10 years ago does not make give one a “lengthy criminal history”.

    Over $7,000 in traffic fines from 5 stops is excessive, Ferguson-style. She was clearly poor – she did not have $500 to post bond.

  18. Steven Houston says:

    Matx, most of us agree that she shouldn’t have been arrested even though it was within state law and SCOTUS rulings. He could have arrested her for the traffic violation, refusing the order to exit the car, or the assault. The problem with dash cameras, body cameras, or any cameras is that some people, yourself included, now believe anything not on camera didn’t happen. When local body cameras go online in a major way, any trouble due to low lighting, weather, or any problem whatsoever will now have this new burden of proof attached.

    But as there were several issues most of us have with what happened in the Bland case, dividing it up helps focus our attention to making things better. The video footage proves she rolled a stop sign and changed lanes without signalling, it also proved her refusal to comply with the lawful order. Should we collectively make most traffic code violations a civil, rather than criminal, matter? Maybe. That said, once jailed, how could Waller have prevented her from killing herself? That will come out in great detail, but even the practice of checking her each hour would not have stopped her according to released information, the jailers having spoken with her less than an hour prior to her suicide. In any case, under current practices, she would not have been eligible for a PR bond and any judge that gave her one would have likely paid for it during the next election had anything happened outside the jail (she wasn’t just “poor” but a “poor risk” as well).

    Jules, by all means convince the rest of the state to change the law to that end. I doubt you’ll get many takers since the new coverage wouldn’t help anyone they hit, property damaged, etc. Under your worldview, few would buy insurance until after the fact, the tens of thousands of poor that are hit by others likely to suffer the most under your scheme. But the articles I read from her hometown area that were much more comprehensive than local pieces, made it clear that it was her vehicle and the bonding company was not interested in letting her use it as collateral.

    But keep in mind that theft is a crime of moral turpitude. If you don’t realize the consequences of that, by all means look it up, fines for DWI/DUI, drugs, and all the other violations (as well as resulting warrants from when she refused to show up to court up north all those times) do tend to add up. Get stopped in southern California, New York, or Boston, to name a few liberal states, and see just how low local fines are by comparison. And fuss at bonding companies all you like, I was in agreement with Charles that we could do better in this area, given her history, she would not have qualified for a PR bond even were this a liberal utopia given her past and circumstances.

  19. Jules says:

    The theft was petty and over 10 years ago. I think you should drop that point.

  20. Jules says:

    The reason I have insurance isn’t because I’ll have to pay a fine if I don’t even though that may be the reason you may have it.

  21. Jules says:

    Sandra Bland was never charged with rolling a stop sign.

  22. Jules says:

    Refusing to check your white male privilege is a crime of moral turpitude. Thinking you are better than someone else because they are poor is a crime of moral turpitude.

  23. matx says:

    Jules, breaking laws involving moral turpitude aren’t held against you in Texas if you are white male (see exampl – Ken Paxton – admitted fraudster)

  24. Steven Houston says:

    Jules, her record as a whole stands as an indicator of her character and judgement.
    The reason most people have insurance is because the state requires it.
    Sandra Bland was not charged for the failure to signal either, that charge dropped in favor of the assault.
    Your personal opinion of WMP is noted though it doesn’t mean anything to anyone but you. Projecting what someone thinks about another speaks more about you than the truth. Every law is backed by force at some point. If you don’t like the possibility of force being used, ditch the laws you don’t like via the legislative process.

  25. Steven Houston says:

    Matx, that has yet to be proven. He is currently indicted and has to face the consequences.

  26. Jules says:

    Steven Houston your posts stand in judgement of your character.

  27. matx says:

    Ken Paxton admitted wrongdoing. Link below


    Here you go:
    “So now, a year after Paxton admitted wrongdoing and was fined by the state securities board, he’s not quite in the clear. Who really knows what the Texas Rangers will determine?

    At issue is whether Paxton’s ethical lapse, which was dealt with as a civil matter, should be prosecuted as a crime. Generally, folks fined by the state securities board are not charged with felonies.

    But should they be?

    Over the years Texas lawmakers, including Paxton, decided to get serious about securities violations, passing legislation for tougher, criminal sanctions.”

  28. Bill Daniels says:

    @ Jules:

    “There should be no fines or penalty for driving without registration or insurance if the person gets the required insurance or registration in a specified time period. Registration and insurance belong to the vehicle, it’s unclear if she was the owner.”

    Jules, I think this is a great idea. Let’s pass that law….no fines or penalty if the insurance and registration is paid for after the traffic stop. Do that and no one will have to stand in line to pay the license plate tax, or go through the bother of getting an inspection. Why do that, like a sucker, when you can instead just drive around until you eventually get stopped for it?

  29. Steven Houston says:

    Matx, there are ample articles here discussing Paxton. His admissions aside, he still gets his day in court but using him as a general indictment of “WMP” instead of “high ranking elected official privilege” seems a stretch. I guarantee you that he, the former governor, and virtually any other high ranking official of note is going to get better treatment than the average person under most circumstances.

    Jules: “Steven Houston your posts stand in judgement of your character.”
    Ans: As do yours, though I strongly mine would tend to be viewed more warmly than yours by the bulk of the populace.

    The article is about bail reform. I pointed out that Bland had a lengthy history of not showing up in court, still owing a great deal of money for a wide variety of offenses, having had no gainful employment since prior to getting her degree 6 years ago that we know of nor doing her school years, having no significant local ties or collateral, and charged with a felony. An expert in the field, Mr. Kubosh, made some observations about bailing procedures above, and rather than come up with a meaningful alternative, you prefer to dance all around the subject.

    Part of convincing people there might be a better way is to provide alternative solutions. I was taken to task by that expert in a previous article on bail reform because I suggested reform was needed too but ultimately, no matter what you believe Bland did or didn’t do, and there have been ample threads for that as well, THIS article was on bail reform. Once inside, how should we collectively ensure a suspect of a crime be prompted to show up for court proceedings. I get your narrative about the poor, downtrodden under privileged folks but realistically, using such a poor case (given the specifics) does no good for true bail reform.

  30. matx says:

    Maybe it just takes enough public outrage, enough people to see that this could happen to anyone: their sons or daughters on their way to school in Prairie View or College Station, or on their way to a new job and new life. Maybe that is what can drive reform–not waiting for the “perfect test case”.

  31. Steven Houston says:

    Matx, you don’t need a “perfect test case” but on the topic of bail reform, Bland is as far from perfect as Willie Horton was for weekend furlough programs.

  32. Jules says:

    Bill Daniels – It’s already a law on registration if it isn’t too far past due – no fine or greatly reduced fine if you get your car registered.

    Don’t know about insurance.

    The point should be compliance, not punishment or collection of monies for the government. This idea may escape you, as it had Ferguson for many many years.

    Sandra Bland should have had an attorney at her bail hearing.

    “Steven Houston” – moral turpitude doesn’t require a conviction. Being arrested is enough. And yes, we know that you think Sandra Bland’s biggest crime is being poor, you don’t need to keep telling us that.

  33. matx says:

    Jules, financial circumstances definitely make a difference. I went to court last year to have moving violations dismissed. In fact, I sat next to a client of Mr. Kubosh while waiting for the officer to show up or not.

    My officer did show up and agreed to drop all but one violation. Because my record was absolutely clean–as long as I wasn’t cited in the next 90 days, that citation would be expunged.

    Total cost to me – 1/2 day of work and $250 for lawyer & court fees. Compared to the approximate $600 fines and the likely increase in insurance I was facing, that was bearable for me–not everyone can take time off of work and pay the fees, and if they cannot do that they certainly cannot pay for multiple traffic violations and insurance increases.

  34. Jules says:

    matx, fines and fees are totally biased against the poor. If Sandra Bland didn’t have $500 to bond out, she surely didn’t have over 7 grand to pay in fines and fees.

    I love reading those stories where in certain countries people get like $78,000 speeding tickets due to their income.

  35. Steven Houston says:

    Jules, insurance tickets don’t work that way, though you may be able to make a “post compliance” deal in a crowded court with a lenient judge. The thought that Ferguson was anything different than most parts of the country is laughable though, small towns across the country just as willing to take your money as the big cities. In some, you may be able to perform community service to pay off a fine but for the most part, if you keep showing up on scheduled court dates, you don’t get thrown in jail as used to be the case decades ago.

    But if you think being poor matters to me either way, you are mistaken. I advocate first time offenders with a long held local address that may happen to be working poor should be given more consideration for a PR bond. Bland could have had the best lawyer in the world at her bond hearing and it would not have changed the outcome, unless he was willing to put up his own money to bond her out (very unlikely). Again, if you have a better method of ensuring suspects show up to court than what is currently in place, so far, I haven’t heard a peep from either of you on the subject. It is not practical to give a PR bond to everyone, especially those with a history of not showing up for court.

  36. Jules says:

    I wonder if the fact that the officer threatened to “light you up” for no reason would have been a factor in the bond hearing?

    I’m not really concerned about the practicality of having everyone show up for court.

    The current system is biased and unfair.

    I don’t think Ferguson is an anomaly, not sure what you are laughing about there.

  37. Steven Houston says:

    Jules, you were the one that dragged the city of Ferguson into the mix like it was something out of the ordinary: “The point should be compliance, not punishment or collection of monies for the government. This idea may escape you, as it had Ferguson for many many years.” The “idea” of using traffic fines is not new either, townships and cities have done so long before the car became popular, “compliance” only part of the equation.

    But your lack of concern for what is practical is duly noted, bail bonds set to insure that compliance you otherwise seem to embrace so readily, experts in the field pointing out that having money at stake certainly increases the chances a criminal suspect will show up to court, or at very least such companies having to go round them up as part of the cost of doing business. Given you don’t care about what is practical, I’ll stop asking you for suggestions on bail reform since that would be pointless, at least the the current system takes into account practicality. Like it or not, most people don’t care one bit how unfair the system is, at least until it impacts them or a family member directly, would be reformers probably needing to build better arguments than whine incessantly. Have a swell day. 🙂

  38. Jules says:

    You don’t care if bonds cause compliance for the rich, only the poor.

    You have an awesome week.

    I am not whining.

  39. Bill Daniels says:

    “I’m not really concerned about the practicality of having everyone show up for court.”


    Here’s the thing. Either showing up to face your legal obligations should be mandatory, or it shouldn’t. If it shouldn’t, then hey, OK, I’m facing a murder or rape charge, but, you know, going to court is a drag, and I’d just rather hang out on the corner or get high and play with my Playstation.

    In the interest of fairness, if I have to respond to legal charges against me, whether it is 35 in a 30 or murdering 10 people with an ax, then yeah, everyone else should, too, since we are against unfair privilege and everything.

    As others have noted, Bland had a history of blowing off her legal obligations. I’m speculating that most of the fine money was actually due to blowing off court, after the fact, vs. the violations themselves. Somebody like this needs to put up some good faith money that they will appear to answer the charges.

  40. Jules says:

    She should have never been arrested.

    She wasn’t facing a murder or rape charge.

    It’s hard to play a playstation sitting on the corner.

  41. Steven Houston says:

    Jules, this may come as a surprise to you but the “rich” generally show up to court, perhaps armed with a gaggle of lawyers but as there are far fewer of them and they usually appear, they are not the problem. The idea behind setting bail is to make sure a person comes to court, several people that frequent here agreeing that for some folks, a PR bond would make sense.

    “Whining” is when you complain repeatedly without coming up with workable suggestions for reform. Stating how you “don’t care” doesn’t typically qualify as a credible solution to a stated problem.

    Bland was ultimately arrested & charged with assault on a public servant. She was a lousy risk for a PR bond for all sorts of reasons, primarily all those times she didn’t show up to court in the past. Basing any sort of bail reform on her is an exercise in building a house of cards that will fall quickly in front of the GOP led state legislature because they will have every excuse to hold Bland’s record up for scrutiny.

    Bill, exactly.

  42. Jules says:

    She was jailed for a crime she never would have been convicted of.

    I know you think that’s fine, you don’t need to tell me again.

    Bill is not going to go to jail for 30 in a 35.

  43. Steven Houston says:

    So Jules, you’ve never been to a small town Texas trial, yes? It sure sounds like it…

  44. Jules says:

    Are you saying it’s all ok because you think she would have been unfairly convicted? Nice. Very nice.

  45. Steven Houston says:

    You claim she would never have been convicted, not knowing if the back up deputy, the black female back up deputy, saw Bland kick the trooper or any other evidence. Small town Texans tend to see through BS better than you might think so while my belief is that you cannot be certain of any outcome, yours was an unequivocal denial of the possibility. If the jurors saw her criminal record online, she’d be toast in such a situation in most communities. But if the best you can do is project strawmen arguments, I’m satisfied with concluding this exchange, the probability of her fair conviction dependent upon the testimony and other evidence. 🙂

  46. Jules says:

    Sanctimonious much?

    They did vote to name a street after Sandra Bland. Not sure about the white male cop or the black female cop.

  47. Jules says:

    And if the jurors saw her record online and used that in their deliberations I think that would be a problem.

    Your character is really shining through.

  48. Bill Daniels says:


    You say I am not going to jail for 35 in a 30. Guess what? If I don’t either pay the ticket beforehand, or show up and answer the charge in court, guess what the judge does? Does he say, “hey, this is just a 35 in a 30 ticket, I’ll just let that go,” or does he say, “gee, the guy failed to appear, so I am issuing a warrant for his arrest, for failure to appear?” If you guessed the latter, you’d be right.

    Just because you don’t think a traffic ticket is a big deal doesn’t mean the criminal justice system sees things the same way. So, yeah, if I don’t pay or appear, you bet I am getting arrested for that 35 in a 30 ticket. If it wasn’t this way, no one would ever pay or waste time fighting a traffic ticket.

  49. Jules says:

    Have you ever heard of ticket amnesty?

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