• Home

Governor Abbott Announces "Damon Allen Act"

Posted: Updated:

Unveils Proposals To Reform Bail System In Texas

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today unveiled the “Damon Allen Act,” a set of proposals to reform the bail system in Texas to protect law enforcement and enhance public safety. The proposals announced by the Governor are in honor of Texas State Trooper Damon Allen, who was killed in the line of duty on Thanksgiving Day, 2017. During today's announcement, the Governor was joined by the Allen family as well as members of the Texas legislature and Texas Department of Public Safety.

“With the Damon Allen Act, Texas will take meaningful steps to reform our bail system so that we can better protect innocent life, keep violent criminals off our streets and prevent tragedies like the death of Damon Allen,” said Governor Abbott. “It’s time for action, and I urge the legislature to take up the Damon Allen Act in the upcoming session. I thank Kasey Allen for her tireless work on this effort and the entire Allen family for their inspiring strength in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

This past Thanksgiving, Officer Allen was ambushed, shot and killed in Freestone County following a traffic stop. His accused murderer had previously been convicted of assaulting a sheriff’s deputy, and had recently been arrested on charges that included evading arrest and aggravated assault on a public servant. Despite his criminal record he was released on bond because The Justice of the Peace in his case was unaware of his prior convictions. The Governor’s new proposals to reform Texas’ bail system aim to help prevent tragedies like the death of Trooper Allen.

The Damon Allen Act is designed to increase public safety and the personal safety of law enforcement, promote consistency across the state, and uphold the constitutional rights of those accused of crimes.

Specific proposals included in the Damon Allen Act are outlined below.

Put Public Safety First:

The practice of bail and the issuance of a bond is regulated by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 17. These rules limit the discretion that a judge may use in ensuring the safety of the community. The rules setting bail should be modified to emphasize the safety of the community, require a magistrate consider the criminal history of a defendant, and allow a magistrate to consider all other relevant information, including impact on law enforcement.

Increase Magistrate Qualification:

The amount of bail required may be set by any magistrate. In addition to a determination of the danger posed to the community by a defendant’s release, a magistrate must consider technical issues of mental health, and family violence. For cases involving felony offenses, or misdemeanors involving sexual offenses and assault, these determinations should be done by District Court judges and their associate judges.

Increase Magistrate Information:

It is critical that judges have ready access to relevant information in order to set bail. The creation of a uniform Court Management System through the Office of Courts Administration can close critical information gaps, especially in counties with a population under 20,000. This system will ensure that magistrates have a full picture of a defendant’s criminal history and mental health involvements, and alert them to protective orders.

Protect Communities from Repeat Offenders:

When a defendant is being supervised for prior criminal conduct, whether through parole, probation, or bond, additional steps should be taken prior to admitting them to bail. Once a magistrate determines that a defendant is being supervised by another agency, that agency should be notified. These notifications can be expedited through the case management system that links magistrates with the appropriate agency.

    • 2nd Annual Veterans Jingle Bell Run in Victoria

      VICTORIA, Texas- The 2nd Annual Veterans Jingle Bell Run took place Saturday evening at the Post Acute Medical Center, located at 101 James Coleman Dr. 80 runners participated in the 5k, dawning on their most festive running gear. Several vendors came out and donated their time, as did a DJ. Veterans from all branches of the military were in attendance, either working the event or running in the run/walk. Last year, this even raised enough money to put together 100 Christmas ...
    • HEB Kicks Off Toys For Tots 2018

      VICTORIA, Texas- HEB stores in Victoria kicked off Toys For Tots 2018. 

    • What is each state's favorite holiday movie?

      No other American holiday generates entertainment content like Christmas. Thanksgiving? Only if you count football. Halloween? Not there yet—but it’s gaining, Morticia. Valentine’s Day? Romantic comedies are still only an inconvenient fraction of your dating life, just being honest. When it comes to cozying up for the season with tales of giving, receiving, and learning “valuable life lessons” (not to mention fab winter fashions and tie-in toys), you ca...

    • Ex-NFL linebacker Isiah Robertson killed in Texas car crash

      MABANK, Texas (AP) - Former two-time All-Pro linebacker Isiah Robertson was killed when the limousine he was driving skidded on a rain-slicked curve on a dark, rural East Texas highway and was hit by two other vehicles.   

    • Trump responds to Tillerson criticism

      WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is responding to criticism from his former secretary of state Rex Tillerson by calling Tillerson "dumb as a rock" and "lazy as hell." 

    • Torres Elementary receives bike donation

      Christmas presents came early for some students at Torres Elementary.  

    • Update: Mussett refused sexual advances before attack, claims witness

      A key witness of the prosecution took the stand Friday morning in the murder trial of Isaiah Cardenas, the man accused of killing Rachael Mussett.

    • HEB brings back limited edition Selena bags

      HEB has once again released Selena bags. Newscenter 25's Abbi Rocha shows us how simple reusable grocery bags are touching the hearts of Selena fans in the Crossroads.  

    • Flash Flood Watch in effect from noon through 6am Friday

      Flash Flood Watch in Effect From Noon Today through 6 AM Saturday. 

    • Governor Abbott orders increased readiness in response to severe weather in Texas

      AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas State Operations Center (SOC) to elevate its readiness level as severe weather such as flooding, and winter weather, including snow and ice, are expected to impact parts of the state over the next few days. T

Current Conditions