Temporary restraining order blocks enforcement of Abbott’s executive order limiting jail releases

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A judge has issued a temporary restraining order that blocks enforcement of an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott that banned suspects accused of, or previously convicted of, violent crimes from being released on a personal bond.

Abbott signed the order March 29, saying it was meant to prevent the release of “dangerous criminals” in Texas.

“Releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe, that also complicates and slows our ability to respond to the disaster,” Abbott said at the time.

A lawsuit opposing the order was filed by the ACLU of Texas, Texas Fair Defense Project, the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

On Friday, Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st Civil District Court granted a temporary restraining order in the case and said there should be a hearing April 24 to determine if it should be changed to a temporary injunction until the trial begins.

“We are pleased that the Court recognized the urgency of this matter and the need to press pause while it is heard in full,” said ACLU of Texas legal direc tor Andre Segura. “The governor has an important role to play in responding to this pandemic, but he cannot impede the ability of judges to use their discretion to release particular individuals, especially when lives are at risk.”

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