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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:After her arrest for the murder of her husband, but before her indictment for that offense, Gretchen Williams Richardson filed an application for writ of habeas corpus, seeking a reduction of the original bail amount of $500,000. At a hearing, the trial court reduced her bail to $250,000. Richardson did not appeal that ruling. After being indicted, Richardson filed “defendant’s second application for writ of habeas corpus seeking bail reduction.” It was given an ancillary cause number. Richardson sought bail reduction to $50,000, which she alleged was the highest amount that she could meet. The trial court held a hearing and reduced bail to $200,000. This appeal followed. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court initially addresses the state’s assertion that the second application was merely a motion to reduce bail and that we lack jurisdiction to review the trial court’s allegedly interlocutory ruling. The state argues that the application cannot be a second application for a writ of habeas corpus — and was only a motion to reduce bail — because it did not contain the allegations required by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 11.59. “Because the state, which did not raise this complaint in the trial court, and the trial court both treated Richardson’s effort as an application for writ of habeas corpus, we will as well. We have jurisdiction of an appeal of a trial court’s denial of habeas corpus relief.” Article 17.15 lists five factors to be considered in determining what bail is appropriate: 1. The bail shall be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the undertaking will be complied with, 2. The power to require bail is not to be so used as to make it an instrument of oppression, 3. The nature of the offense and the circumstances under which it was committed are to be considered, 4. The ability to make bail is to be regarded, and proof may be taken upon this point, and 5. The future safety of a victim of the alleged offense and the community shall be considered. The evidence on the first factor is conflicting, and thus the trial court was within its discretion to weigh it in favor of a fairly high bail to ensure Richardson’s appearance. Bail set in a particular amount becomes oppressive when it is “based on the”assumption that [the accused cannot] afford bail in that amount and for the express purpose of forcing [the accused] to remain incarcerated pending [trial].’” Ex parte McCullough, 993 S.W.2d 836 (Tex. App. – Waco 1999, no pet.) (quoting Ex parte Harris, 733 S.W.2d 712 (Tex. App. – Austin 1987, no pet.)). The record contains nothing to indicate that the trial court rendered its decision on this basis, especially with the trial court having reduced bail from $500,000 to $250,000 and then to $200,000. The potential life sentence and the evidence of premeditation suggest that a high bail amount is appropriate. Richardson’s father said that he and one of Richardson’s brother had raised $5,000 for a bond, and they had learned from commercial bondsmen that the bond fee would be 10 percent of the bail amount. Jeff had been handling Richardson’s financial affairs since her arrest, and her bank account was overdrawn by $290. Her home is valued between $135,000 and $145,000, and the mortgage amount on that home is around $112,000. She has no property to sell that would have significant value, and she has exhausted all of her available resources. The evidence on this factor tends to support a further reduction of bail. George Jr., another brother of Richardson, additionally stated that he and other members of his extended family are concerned for their safety if Richardson is released on bond. He and other family members are extremely concerned about the influence that Richardson would have on her minor children if she were released on bond, as he believes that Richardson has been attempting to pressure them to testify favorably and untruthfully in her behalf. George Jr. did not believe that there were sufficient safeguards to ensure the children’s safety. He concluded his affidavit with a request that the trial court not lower Richardson’s bail. The court agrees with the state that the evidence pertinent to this factor tends to support the trial court’s setting bail in a higher amount. There is no evidence that Richardson has a prior criminal history, which indicates the lack of necessity for a particularly high bail. But on the other hand, evidence suggests that a relatively high bail is necessary because there is evidence that Richardson poses a flight risk. The court cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to reduce Richardson’s bail to $50,000. OPINION:Bill Vance, J.; Gray, C.J., Vance and Reyna, JJ. Gray, C.J., concurs in the result without a separate opinion.

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