BELTON, Texas – A Texas court official says the $4 billion bond she imposed on a suspect was meant as a jab to highlight that bonds are often set so high that defendants can't get out of jail.
Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown said Friday that setting exorbitant bonds force too many people to remain in jail until trial. She called the trend "ridiculous."
Brown said she wanted to impose a $100,000 bond on 25-year-old Antonio Marquis Willis, but that she was challenged by officials involved in the case. An irritated Brown then changed the amount to $4 billion.
Brown acknowledged the bond amount can be challenged as a constitutional violation. A state district judge could lower the amount, which Brown says she supports.
Willis is charged with first-degree murder in the December shooting death of another man.