Texas Governor Proposes Bail Reform After Death Of DPS Trooper: “Damon Allen Act”

Gov. Greg Abbott said he wanted to fix a flawed system in Texas that allowed the man suspected of killing a trooper last year to get out of jail on bond despite having been previously accused of assaulting a deputy.

He wants to hold criminals accountable while Democrats only want to lower or completely do away with bail altogether.

With the Damon Allen Act, Texas will take meaningful steps to reform their bail system so that we can better protect innocent life, keep violent criminals off our streets and prevent tragedies like the death of Damon Allen.

Texas Tribune:

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Gov. Greg Abbott wants the Texas Legislature to pass a bail reform law next year.

On Tuesday, the Republican governor announced his proposed Damon Allen Act, named in honor of a 41-year-old highway patrol trooper who was gunned down last Thanksgiving during a traffic stop near Fairfield, about 60 miles east of Waco. The suspect, 33-year-old Dabrett Black, was out of jail on a $15,500 bond at the time after allegedly assaulting a Smith County deputy.

After his murder, Allen’s widow, Kasey, approached Abbott about the issue. Abbott said it was because of her that he is supporting bail reforms in the next session, which begins in January.

“Because of a flawed system, Kasey was robbed of a husband; her children were robbed of a father,” Abbott said at a Department of Public Safety office in Waco. “Texas must ensure that something like this never happens again.”

The judge who set Black’s bond told WFAA after Allen’s death that he didn’t know of Black’s previous convictions at the time — which included a 2015 assault on another deputy — and wished he’d handled the case differently. In October, after Black was already out of jail, his bond was increased to $400,000 and an arrest warrant was later issued.

In his proposal to change the bail system — a mechanism used to ensure criminal defendants show up to their court hearings – Abbott said bond amounts would be set to better match the threat of accused criminals. His changes would include:

Having judges and magistrates who set bail be informed of the defendant’s full criminal history and take that into account when setting bond amounts.

Adding the safety of law enforcement to the list of threats judges must consider when setting bail.

Implementing a statewide case management system, so judges and magistrates would have all the relevant information at bail settings. More

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