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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Sept. 22, 2006, police arrested Derrick D. Carson and charged him with possession of a controlled substance in an amount greater than 4 grams but less than 200 grams. Depending on the controlled substance alleged in the charging instrument, that offense is generally a first-degree felony under Texas Health & Safety Code �481.115. A trial court set Carson’s bond at $50,000. Carson could not raise sufficient funds either to post the requisite surety or hire a bonding agent for that purpose. On Oct. 20, 2006, the trial court found Carson to be indigent and appointed counsel to represent him in connection with this charge. On Jan. 3, 2007, Carson filed a pretrial application for writ of habeas corpus alleging the state had failed to return an indictment within 90 days of Carson’s arrest and that, because of this failure, he was entitled to have his bond reduced to an amount that he was capable of posting. The trial court conducted a hearing on the application on Feb. 5, 2007. Carson testified that since his arrest on Sept. 22, 2006, he remained incarcerated. Carson further informed the trial court that: he was a lifelong resident of Texarkana; he is unemployed; and he had no assets other than personal belongings. Carson testified that he did not own an automobile, real estate or have money in any bank accounts. He believed that the most money his family could raise to help him make bail was about $100. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court granted Carson’s application. The trial court noted the serious nature of the charged crime and stated that it believed a $10,000 bond would be reasonable under the circumstances. Carson appealed the trial court’s ruling, arguing that, although the trial court properly determined Carson was entitled to a bond reduction, the trial court nonetheless erred by failing to reduce the bond to either a personal bond or to an amount that Carson could afford. HOLDING:Vacated. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 17.151, if the state is not ready for trial within 90 days of arrest of a defendant accused of a felony, a defendant who is detained in jail must be released either on personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail required. The parties stipulated to evidence showing that authorities jailed Carson for at least 90 days. The court noted a 1982 opinion by the 8th Court of Appeals, Kernahan v. State, in which the 8th Court held that an accused with no money at all was entitled to relief on his application for writ of habeas corpus. The 8th Court wrote that the accused “could no more secure his own release with bail set at $2,500.00 than when originally set at $5,000.00, ninety-four days before.” Thus, the court stated, Art. 17.151′s provisions mandate that, if the state is not ready for trial within 90 days of the accused’s arrest and if the accused has remained confined continuously since that date, then the accused is entitled to have bond set at either a personal bond or at an amount he can make. In this case, the court noted evidence that Carson was unemployed and lacked substantial assets. In short, the court found that the record available to the trial court demonstrates that Carson would not be able to make even a bond reduced to $10,000. The court concluded that, while the trial court correctly determined that Carson’s bond should be lowered, it erred in its ultimate calculation of an appropriate bond setting. The court therefore vacated the trial court’s bond setting and ordered Carson’s bond be set at a $1,000 cash or surety bond in this case. OPINION:Moseley, J.; Morriss, C.J., and Carter and Moseley, J.J.

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