More than 80% of Harris Co. residents charged with misdemeanors fail to show up for court, data shows

"It's flat out ridiculous that we're allowing this to happen in Harris County, and we're not going to hold anyone accountable anymore," said Doug Griffith, President of the Houston Police Officers Union.

Miranda O'Donnel, a woman with a laundry list of misdemeanor charges and mug shots, is the reason a federal judge mandated no cash bonds for Harris County residents charged with misdemeanors.

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District Attorney Kim Ogg and the Houston Police Union compiled data showing a lot of defendants weren't even showing up for court.

The Professional Bondsmen of Texas took an even deeper dive into court records covering the period from January 1, 2021, through August 2022

"The average failure to appear rate in misdemeanor courts, all 16 of them, is over 80%," said Ken W. Good, member of the Professional Bondsmen of Texas.


Good says many misdemeanor courts take no action against those who fail to appear. He says the data shows 71% of all misdemeanor cases are dismissed.

"For the last two years, the misdemeanor courts have been keeping themselves from collapsing, because of the backlog by just dismissing all the cases," Good said.

"Everything that was used in my report, as well as this other report, are off the District Clerk's website. So it's hard to argue with the numbers, so I don't know where they come up with bail reform is working, because it's just an out-and-out lie," said Griffith.

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"We've identified days when 90%, 95%, 98%, 100% of the people on the docket failed to show up for court and the courts did nothing," said Good.

"It's going to get worse before it gets better, because the courts do not want to hold anyone accountable," Griffith said. 

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