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Damon Allen Act is not criminal justice reform

Express-News Editorial BoardMay 15, 2019

Texas lawmakers are not pursuing meaningful criminal justice reform this session, so the public and media should quit using that term to describe the Damon Allen Act.

It’s misleading. This is not meaningful criminal justice reform. This bill would establish basic standards for magistrates who set bail, and it would create a uniform pretrial risk assessment tool for defendants. But the bill is defined more by what it is lacking in political conviction and statutory language than what it seeks to accomplish.

Named after state Trooper Damon Allen, who was murdered in 2017 during a traffic stop, this legislation is a priority for Gov. Greg Abbott. He would like to strengthen the system to ensure defendants who are potentially dangerous to the public are not released pretrial.

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