United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas denied the efforts of Harris County, Texas officials to prevent the release of indigent misdemeanor defendants.
Earlier this week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Harris County's petition to halt Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal's ruling that the county's bail system is unconstitutional and that low-level defendants unable to pay bail should be released. While over 100 individuals being held on misdemeanor charges began to be released, Harris County filed for emergency consideration with the U.S. Supreme Court. Following Justice Clarence Thomas's ruling, the county may ask the full Supreme Court to reconsider their case.
In light of these rulings, "county officials have invested millions of dollars to reform the bail system starting this summer, with a beefed up pretrial services department and a pilot program to provide public defenders present at bail hearings. A tool to assess the risk posed by a defendant is set to go into effect July 1."