Discord over deal to settle Houston-area bail lawsuit

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge is set to listen to final arguments before deciding whether to approve an agreement settling a lawsuit that resulted in the bail system in Texas’ most populous county being declared unconstitutional for those arrested on lesser offenses.

A 2016 lawsuit alleged poor people and minorities arrested in Harris County on misdemeanors stayed locked up only because they couldn’t afford to pay for their release.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal was scheduled to hold a hearing Monday in Houston federal court on a consent decree to settle the lawsuit. She was expected to make a final ruling at a later date.

Criminal justice reform advocates are hailing the agreement.

But some law enforcement officials say the consent decree will endanger public safety by freeing violent criminals.

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