Bail Reform

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

With courts largely shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, attorney Steve Brand wasn't working at his usual breakneck clip.

Then on Sunday, that peace was disturbed.

It was the governor who disturbed it. Specifically, a statewide order on Gov. Greg Abbott's letterhead.

Inmates chat inside a cell block at the Harris County Jail.
Caleb Bryant Miller for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott’s order restricting the release of some Texas jail inmates during the coronavirus pandemic is being challenged in federal court. Civil rights attorneys filed a court motion Wednesday arguing the order unconstitutionally discriminates against poor defendants and also takes away judges' power to make individual release decisions.

The Travis County Courthouse
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

People arrested for misdemeanors in Travis County will no longer have to pay cash to be released from jail, under an order released Thursday by county judges.