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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A jury convicted Gontrai Henderson of the state jail felony of possession of methamphetamine. The jury assessed his punishment at two years’ confinement and a $2,500 fine and recommended that he be placed on community supervision. The court suspended imposition of sentence and placed Henderson on community supervision for five years. The trial court set bail for appeal at $10,000. On appeal, Henderson contended that: 1. the amount of bail was oppressive; and 2. the appeal bond statute was unconstitutional. HOLDING:Affirmed. Turning first to his constitutional claim, Henderson argued that the appeal bond statute violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in that the statute apparently did not allow a personal bond on appeal even though Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 17.03 allows a personal bond for those awaiting trial. Henderson, the court stated, conceded that his claim involved neither a suspect class nor a fundamental right, and therefore, must be analyzed under the rational basis test. Henderson therefore had the burden to show that the classification was not rationally related to any legitimate government interest. But the court found that Henderdon’s point of error fell short, because his challenge to the statute focused merely on its distinction between those charged with a felony and those convicted of a felony. This distinction, the court stated, is constitutional. Henderson next complained that the amount of bail was oppressive. In setting the amount of bail pending appeal, the primary factors were “the length of the sentence” and “the nature of the offense.” Other factors include the defendant’s work history, family ties, community ties, ability to make bail, prior criminal record, conformity with previous bond conditions, other outstanding bonds and aggravating factors in the offense. Henderson concentrated on the fact that he had no means of making bail and never previously failed to appear in court. He also argued that his offense was a nonviolent state jail felony. The state contended that because of a lengthy criminal history and the fact that Henderson made a $5,000 pre-trial bond which was revoked, a higher bail should be set. Ability to make bail is only one factor to be considered, the court stated, and the inability to secure release does not render the amount excessive. Thus, the court could not say based on the evidence that the trial court abused its discretion in setting the amount of bail at $10,000. Henderson, the court noted, also filed a motion to reduce the $10,000 bail to $500. For the same reasons, the court denied that motion. OPINION:Reyna, J.; Vance and Reyna, JJ. DISSENT:Gray, C.J. “Because there is no certification of the defendant’s right to appeal the order setting bail pending appeal I would dismiss this proceeding as required by [Texas] Rule of Appellate Procedure 25.2(d).”

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