Justice delayed is justice denied. For too long, that’s been the case in Harris County, where people languish behind bars for weeks and months awaiting trial for minor, nonviolent misdemeanors because they cannot afford bail. Enough is enough. The time has come for Harris County to leave its wealth-based bail system in the past, take a seat at the settlement table, and fully commit to forward-thinking bail reform.
No clearer message has been sent that the two-tiered system of justice, which unfairly penalizes the poor, minorities, and people with mental illness, must be leveled than the Honorable U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal’s recent decision to grant an injunction halting the county’s practice of denying pre-trial liberty to people charged with petty misdemeanors because they cannot afford bail.
A well-respected appointee of President George H.W. Bush, Judge Rosenthal’s ruling makes it clear that our current system violates our constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.
Read the full op-ed here.