How To Bail Someone Out Of Harris County Jail

On Saturday at around 5PM I got a call from a friend’s girlfriend that he needed to be bailed out of jail.

I had no idea how to do this.

Maybe I live a sheltered life, but I learned a lot about how the county jail worked and thought I should share my experience.

I first went to a bail bond place and asked them what I had to do. They said his bail was $500 and I could either pay the county the whole thing, or pay them $128 and they would pay the $500. I said I’d just pay the full amount myself. They told me I’d need the exact amount in cash and that I had to take it to 49 San Jacinto.

I’m going to write another post and how it works on the inside, but for now I’ll just tell you what you have to do.

So I arrive at 49 San Jacinto and have to disarm before I can go in. So I have to go to a place I’m most likely to run into criminals and carry cash – because that’s all they take – and I have to disarm. They’ve got the sign posted for CHL holders. I did feel a little better when I saw two deputies and they had empty holsters. So I guess everyone disarms in the jail house.

It is now about 6:30 PM on a Saturday night. There is a line of about 30 people waiting. There are nine windows where you can pay. And as far as I can see there is no one working any of them. There is no one visible behind the windows and there is one one waiting in front of one. I wondered if I was in the right place and the guy in front of me told me I was and I’d be there till 8 or 9 waiting to get helped.

He was almost exactly right. I was finally done at 8:30PM.

They had 1 person working the window and they called up a new person about every 20 minutes. Luckily some of the 30 people were in groups. They’d call the next person to the window. Then slowly handle the person and then get up and wonder around shooting the bull with other workers and then come back and handle another person.

When you finally get to the window they look up the person you are there to bail out and tell you want the bail is. Then they want your ID and the bail in exact cash. Then you have to fill out a few forms.

One of the things they will ask you is if you want to take responsibility for the person you are bailing out. If you say yes, and the defendant doesn’t show for trial, you are responsible for all the court costs as well as losing your bail money. If you say no, then the money is returned to the defendant and not to you. Minus 5% admin fee of course.

If you have a bail bond, you get a piece of paper you give them. I didn’t do that so I don’t know exactly what happens in that case. I do know the bondsman have an express lane and don’t have to wait in line.

Once you actually pay the person’s bail, they will be released in 6 to 8 hours. Unless they hit a shift change, which will add an hour or two because they have to screw around when they come on duty.

Ahh, government efficiency. Can’t wait till they run our health care.

The guy in front and back of me in line were there to check themselves into jail. They are serving a 30 day sentence 1 day at a time on the weekend. He said he had to be in line at 6PM and would be released by 6AM. After waiting in line for 2 hours he said he’d be told to go around the corner and sit next the the elevator for an hour until a deputy comes down to start processing him in. The in processing won’t be done till right before he is to be released so he’ll never end up in an actual cell.

Given the snails pace that everything works in the Harris County Jail it is no wonder they have an over crowding problem. While part of the problem is we have too many stupid laws that require someone to be arrested – not to mention the you-pissed-off-the-cop crimes that get you arrested instead of ticketed – just the gross inefficiency of those working there.

Made me want to run for Sheriff.

If it took less than 6 hours to release people who’s bail has been paid there would be more open spaces. And then we could work on it taking less than 2 hours to pay someone’s bail. This is a simple efficiency problem, not a political one.

When I write my next post on what happens when you are arrested, you’ll see on that side you could get lots of people – or yourself – out quicker.

Shooting, Reading, and Libertarianism. What’s Going On With Ron.

Been a long time since I posted so I thought I’d mention a few things going on with me right now.

April 17th I’m teaching a glamour workshop at the studio. That means photographically I’m focused on planning that. The main model is Carley Erin and the other afternoon model is Skye Greene. I shot with Skye a few days ago prepping for the class.

I’ve decided to learn to shoot – guns this time – better this year. I planned to go out to Frontsight this spring and take the rifle course, but doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Hopefully in the fall. In the mean time I’m going to look for some training locally. I’m going to take the Advanced Pistol training offered by KRTraining on April 10th.

I’m also trying to get deeper in my understanding of Libertarian politics. So I’m listening to Libertarianism by David Boaz. I got the audio book version and I’m not sure that is the best bet for my absorbing what’s being said. I also want to read Anarchy, State, And Utopia by Robert Nozick.

Speaking of reading, I’ve decided to read all of the Liad book in chronological order from Crystal Soldier to I Dare. I just finished Conflict of Honors and am going to start Agent of Change. Not sure where I’ll but the parallel stories of Saltation and Fledgling. BTW you can get all of these books – including advanced reader copies – from Baen’s Webscriptions in digital form.

The biggest change going on right now is my day jobs offices have moved into Kingwood, the suburb I live in. That means I’m 10 minutes drive from home now. Woot! Does adversely effect audiobook listening though. I may start riding my bike though, so that would lengthen it back out.

Speaking of exercise, come next Monday I’m starting P90x, the killer infomercial marketed exercise program. Some of my co-workers and I are all going to do it at the same time. We decided to wait until the Monday after the move to let us recover from the move itself. Which is good because really blew out my back during the move. I decided to start the diet this week and have done well on it. I find using the iPhone App from Livestrong.com to track my eating has really helped.

I’ll talk more about P90x as I really get into it. Here’s one tip – overall it is cheaper to by it from Amazon than direct from Beachbody. Especially if you have Amazon Prime and get free shipping.

Well now you know all kinds of things going on with me.

Obama And The Assault Weapons Ban

Don’t know if you get the NRA newsletter, but they included a PDF of President Obama’s “Plan to Stimulate Urban Prosperity” page in the last email. It was the google cache for Nov 7.

In the Crime and Law Enforcement section, between “End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence:”and “End Racial Profiling” was this section on guns.

Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn’t have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.

He has taken down his detailed agenda from the change.gov site now, but it is still available in PDF form on his campaign page.

http://origin.barackobama.com/issues/urban_policy/ (Under “Read The Plan”)

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/UrbanFactSheet.pdf

I bought an AR-15 last Wednesday. I named it Barack. It is sweet. Pictures to come.

Voted Early

I went in this morning and voted in the primary. Things are already settled in my party’s primary for President, but it is my civic duty. Plus I wanted to cast my protest vote.

I voted for Ron Paul. I actually agree with all his positions on issues except Iraq. I would have voted for him even if there was someone else in the race at this point, but there isn’t.

In Texas you don’t say what party you are going to vote for in the primaries until you get to the polls. I live in a very Republican district. But the whole time I was there, maybe 5 minutes, not a single person declared Republican but me. I wonder if it was Republicans wanting to vote against someone on the Democrat side. My wife thought about that, but I know she would never forgive herself if she voted for Hillary. That’s just a blot on your soul you can’t watch out even if she loses.

Am I A Libertarian?

Recently I signed up for a Facebook account because all the cool kids were doing it. When they asked political party I checked Libertarian. Which is kind of strange because I’m a life long Republican. And the next election I’m planning on voting for Fred Thompson. So why did I do it?

One reason is the influence of Michael Z Willliamson’s Freehold. The idealistic view of a truly Libertarian world. Unfortunately, as I’ve discussed with Michael via email, I can’t see that happening unless you can start a new world and limit who can come in, which Freehold does.

The main reason came out of my apologetics class and an example J. P. Moreland gave in Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. It is in the discussion on how if you know more you will see more. You’ll see things you haven’t seen before.

The example goes something like this. A politician said, “Just as the government must protect a child from abuse, they must protect a child’s right to day care.” Some political philosophers believe there are two kinds of rights, positive rights and negative rights. A negative right says the government has a duty to use force, in the form of the police, to stop someone from keeping you from doing the thing you have the right to. A positive right says the government has a duty to use force, in the form of taxation, to force those under its power to provide the thing you have a right to.

So back to the politician’s statement now. See how the rights aren’t the same? Protection from child abuse is a negative right and daycare is a positive right. Now you can see something you couldn’t see before.

Moreland says some people believe the government should only provide negative rights. And I find myself agreeing with that. It is a radical position in the world today. If some how the entire government accepted it tomorrow, we’d have a major change on our hands. For one the government would no longer provide the educational services it does today. There would be a whole new paradigm about what the government does.

I’d love to see the government only work on negative rights. It is subtly different that what I think of as Libertarianism, but I don’t see any political group that is any closer. So maybe I am a Libertarian. Both the other parties are just arguing about which positive rights they should force me to fund.

Since I don’t think the Republicans have much of a chance to win the Presidency next year, maybe I need to look at casting a protest vote for the Libertarian candidate.

Waiter Rant – Hard & Soft

Don’t often link to other posts just because I like them. Don’t know why, but here’s one from Waiter Rant. Discussion in a dog park with a cop about a serial killer. Great story to show you that there really is nothing new under the sun.

I’ve been contemplating what I’ve learned in my 42 years lately. One is that you are rarely as smart or wise as you think you are.:) But one of them is every generation thinks their problems are new. Solomon said otherwise 4000 years ago, and it is still true today.

Waiter Rant – which is one of the best story blogs you can read – shows that wackos aren’t a new phenomenon. It has nothing to do with the “new” gun culture in the US. Nothing to do with violent video games. Nothing to do with politics. Its just the human condition.

We like to think that partisan politics is a new phenomenon. That the way Democrats and Republicans hate on each other is worse than it has ever been. Do you not remember that we had presidential candidates dueling each other in the past? And there was a civil war once.

Republicians Are Better Framers

Or at least they used to be according to this article about how Republicans appear to be good “framers” and Democrats are lousy ones.

Right now the Democratic Party is into marketing. They pick a number of issues like prescription drugs and Social Security and ask which ones sell best across the spectrum, and they run on those issues. They have no moral perspective, no general values, no identity. People vote their identity, they don’t just vote on the issues, and Democrats don’t understand that. Look at Schwarzenegger, who says nothing about the issues. The Democrats ask, How could anyone vote for this guy? They did because he put forth an identity. Voters knew who he is.

There’s lots of talk in the Republican blogosphere about who our candidate should be, with the two front runner being people conservative’s don’t like. This kind of sheds some light on why that is. Neither Gulliani nor McCain have an identity that we identify with.

In Case You Didn’t Already Hate San Francisco

They’ve now outlawed Junior ROTC.

I don’t understand how they can even be allowed to do this. ROTC is related to the federal government’s function and I don’t understand how a local city government can just kick them out.

And of course it doesn’t matter if JROTC is doing good for the students in it. Political correctness in its most totalitarian aspect rules over practical application.