FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2021
Bipartisan support of DA, law enforcement along with Crime Stoppers of Houston & other community leaders
Houston, TX – Senator Bettencourt (R-Houston) filed SB 532, known as Caitlynnes bill, to prohibit magistrates from releasing a defendant on a PR bond for offenses committed while out on an existing PR bond, or on a felony offense when two or more other felony charges are pending against the defendant. This legislation will also set a $10,000 minimum amount of bail per offense in felony cases where the defendant is accused of three or more felonies. Caitlynnes bill is named after Caitlynne Infinger Guajardo, as she and her unborn child were allegedly murdered by a violent offender that was out on multiple PR bonds. Andy Kahan Crime Stoppers of Houston reported, “at least 90 people have been killed in Harris County from 2018 to present by defendants who were out of jail on PR, Multiple Felony Bonds and Bond Forfeiture.”
“America is the land of second chances but that doesn’t mean that you get a third, fourth, or fifth chance to then go out and commit some serious offense like shooting a Deputy Sheriff or killing a citizen of Harris County,” said Senator Bettencourt. “With the level of public safety concerns in Harris County, the debate over bond reform must start an earnest with all stakeholders and citizens,” Senator Bettencourt added.
“Violent offenders who commit more crimes while on bail should not be repeatedly released to prey on innocent people," Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg stated. "I support Senator Bettencourt’s effort to protect the public’s safety through common sense revisions to Texas’ bail system,” she added.
“Too many of our citizens have become victims of violent crime by career habitual offenders who are continuously released back to the community often on multiple PR Bonds”, Crime Stoppers of Houston CEO Rania Mankarious stated.
Public safety remains a major public policy concern in Houston, which has seen a major increase in homicides to over 400 city-wide and over 500 including all of Harris County--an almost 50% increase from 256 over the same period in 2019.
“Caitlynnes case is one of many tragedies that have hit the Houston community in the past couple years,” said Senator Bettencourt. “The safety of our law enforcement officers and the public are being put at risk!” concluded Bettencourt.
Senator Bettencourt and Crime Stoppers of Houston hosted a press conference to introduce thislegislation, Caitlynne’s bill. Speakers included Rania Mankarious, Andy Kahan, Melanie Infinger, Senator Bettencourt, Rep Dan Huberty, Pastor Willie Davis, Commissioner Tom Ramsey, Councilmen Michael Kubosh David Cuevas HCDO, and Douglas Griffith & Ray Hunt HPOU, Tomaro Bell, and Theresa Seck.