The 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “excessive bail shall not be required.” Part of the reason for this amendment lies in the English Bill of Rights. People in positions of power used to abuse their positions by imposing overly large fines on the accused. That is what Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown is being accused of.
In February, our founding attorney, Brett H. Pritchard, filed a petition that sought to remove the newly elected Brown from office. It was the second complaint filed against Brown within a week. Another lawyer, Jeff Parker, filed a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct after Brown assigned a $4 billion bond against a Killeen murder suspect—the highest bail bond ever set. District Court Judge John Gauntt ruled the bond amount unconstitutional and reduced it to $150,000.
However, this isn’t the only strange bond amount Judge Brown has assigned. She also set many bonds lower than expected. Chance Haden Pearson, a person accused of sexual assault, was given a bond of $1,000. Pearson’s bail was challenged by a district attorney, and Gauntt agreed to reset the bond to $125,000. In another case, Brown set the bail of a woman charged with assaulting a family member at $3,000; an amount later raised to $40,000.
Judge Brown claims that these outrageous bail amounts have a purpose. She wants to illustrate that, in general, bonds are already set too high for Americans struggling to survive. According to the letter she posted on Facebook, she set the $4 million bail “to get the attention of those who were opposing my attempt at doing what I have been taught.”
The judge will continue to remain in office while the trial is arranged. Two weeks ago, Judge Stephen Ables of the 216th District Court in Kerr County heard arguments and testimony by Brett H. Pritchard. Brown was then given the opportunity to defend herself. After the hearing, Ables signed the order to issue the citation, which was officially served to Judge Brown. He recommended that she hire an attorney to represent her since she had no one advising her during the hearing. We will continue to monitor the progress of the case.
If you’re looking for an excellent Killeen civil attorney, contact us today. We have represented thousands of civil law cases over the past 18 years, and we are readily available to you. Contact us at (254) 220-4225 or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.