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Texas

Governor Abbott wants more fines for ankle monitor violations

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Gov. Greg Abbott wants reform in the upcoming legislative session regarding ankle monitor violations, the Republican said in a letter Wednesday to leaders of the Texas House and Senate.

In a letter to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan, the governor said there are currently “no criminal consequences” for parolees who cut off their ankle monitor. He cites previous cases of parolees wearing ankle bracelets still committing crimes, stating that the devices are “ineffective” in deterring and preventing people from committing violent crimes.

One of the fatal incidents cited by Abbott is the October 2022 Dallas hospital shooting that killed two employees.

According to the Dallas Police Department, the alleged shooter, Nestor Hernandez, was able to visit the hospital when his girlfriend was giving birth to their child, but was already on parole for aggravated robbery and had an “active ankle monitor.” In October, DPD Police Chief Eddie Garcia called the shooting “an appalling failure of our criminal justice system.”

Last month, Abbott directed the Board of Pardons and Parole of Texas (BPP) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to investigate “any shortcomings” in the release and supervision of Hernandez, as well as another Zerick Jackson, another parolee. who had an ankle monitor and is accused of killing a man in Dallas.

A report sent by the BPP and TDCJ to the Governor said the Hernandez and Jackson parole board consistently followed the rules and policies regarding their violations and their release. Abbott says there is a clear need for legislative action because of these findings.

“There are currently no criminal consequences for a parolee disabling an ankle monitor,” Abbott said in his letter to Patrick and Phelan. “Texas cannot allow violent criminals who endanger public safety to return to our communities.”

Last summer in Austin, one of the suspects involved in a string of robberies and shootings near The Domain mall previously cut off his ankle monitor, according to Austin police.

It’s unclear if this will be part of Abbott’s emergency issues in the 88th legislative session. When state lawmakers return to the Capitol on Tuesday, they won’t be able to advance any legislation other than the governor’s emergency clauses until early March.

This is a live report, stay tuned for updates. Monica Madden will have a full report on KXAN at 5:00 pm.

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