How do you guarantee a first-degree murderer doesn’t make bail? Set bail at $4 billion.
A Bell County, Texas, justice of the peace named Claudia Brown set what may be a world record as the highest bail on a 24-year-old who committed murder and, eventually, turned himself in last week.
The Dallas News reported that Antonio Marquis Willis of Killeen was arrested last week for the murder of Donte Samuels on December 22, 2016.
When Willis appeared before Justice Brown, he was hit with a bail amount so high, and with so many zeros after it, it couldn’t be entered into the court’s database and shows up as $1,000,000,999.00.
However, the reason for Justice Brown’s setting such an astronomical bail figure may be surprising.
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Brown said she did it to bring attention to the ridiculous amount of most bail bonds which affect poor people negatively. She feels these figures should be dramatically reduced.
The Justice said, “We can not set bonds in a punitive fashion. Three-quarters of the people sitting in jail right now are sitting there because they can’t afford to get out. The system is broken, therefore.”
Willis’s attorney, Billy Ray Hall, is confident he can get the bail reduced to a more reasonable amount due to the fact that the current figure violates his client’s 8th Amendment rights.
Judge Brown is a Democrat and former local city council member who was just elected as a justice of the peace last November.
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