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The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Harris County man released on $1 bond after being charged with assault

Image of a courtroom in Harris County, similar to the courtroom of Luis Sanchez’s proceeding.

Last month in Houston, Texas, Luis Sanchez was released from Harris Country Jail after being arrested with charges of felony sexual assault of a minor after 3 months.

As required by Texas law regarding due process, prosecutors must obtain an indictment within 90 days- three months- of a person being taken into custody. This law avoids the possibility of somebody sitting in a jail cell for too long, waiting to be charged. This is also known as the Speedy Trial Act of 1974. If the 90-day deadline is not met, the arrested individual must receive a bond that they can afford. In Luis Sanchez’s case, the district attorney missed this deadline by 2 days.

Luis Sanchez, being recognized by the court as indigent, or poor, was granted a bond that he could afford- one dollar. He was released from Harris County Jail in September, put under house arrest, and required to wear an ankle monitor.

This particularly low bond has provoked outrage- not only from the victim’s family but the general public as well. The alleged rape victim’s mother expressed her anger describing Sanchez’s release as “an egregious miscarriage of justice,” in an interview with ABC13.

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“God forbid, if he were to get out of the ankle monitor, he would be gone in a flash,” she said to ABC13.

With all these legal events happening, it is hard for the public to find a line of reasoning between who’s at fault and how to give the victims justice.

“I don’t think that the law that’s in place is a bad one in this instance,” said CVHS AP Government and AP Human Geography teacher, Charlotte Haney. “I think it’s a good law because there’s a consequence for the district attorney’s office if they don’t get it together, because they shouldn’t let poor people just be stuck in prison uncharged. That’s crazy…”

Haney, who has taught at CVHS for 5 years, expressed her nuanced stance on the case, sympathizing with the alleged victim while defending the presumption of Sanchez’s innocence and his access to justice as an indigent individual. Above all else, Haney believes that the district attorney is to blame in this situation.

“This woman very bravely came forward and women don’t come forward, especially Latina women. She did this incredibly brave thing, and the prosecutors blew her off. They arrested the guy, but they didn’t take it seriously enough to move it forward,” said Haney.

Young girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault according to Rainn Statistics. Nationwide, 81% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment at some point in their lifetime. 

When it comes to sexually based crime, prosecution is almost nonexistent, claims Haney. 

“The amount of prosecutions that actually go to trial are nothing; the sentences are ridiculous; the way that victims are treated by the entire process is horrific; the way that Harris County has a huge pile of rape kits that they don’t process… All of that is terrible,” said Haney.

Due to these high amounts of cases going unpursued, many victims decide to not come forward in situations like this case where justice is not a guarantee. In fact, 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. 

However, Haney raises an interesting question about this case: Why is the media paying attention to this man? The case has been shared on Houston news sites, causing locals to view this case with the notion that justice has yet to be served due to the way the court proceeded with Sanchez’s release.

“There is a lot of negative press about the reduced bonds- $1 bonds and things like that. I used to work in the jail system and watched how people were treated and how their lives were destroyed while they waited. We need justice to be accessible and not just for the rich,” said Haney.

Rather than focusing on the law and court system, Haney stated that shifting focus to improving the Justice Department and District Attorney could help more people such as the young girl in this case. 

“Really, the focus should be on the district attorney completely screwing up with this,” said Haney. “[We should] fund our Justice Department fully rather than just funding our police department. [We need to be] making sure that we’re doing actual investigative detective work rather than working drug crimes, which is something that Kim Ogg, the district attorney, has failed us on.”

However, publicity on this ongoing case can also be beneficial to the victim. This increases the chance of the court leaning in favor of the victim and the victim’s family when Sanchez next appears in court in November. 

“The case is actually getting attention…this case is going to get the attention that it deserves. So instead of being ignored and probably pleading out to almost no time served or something like that, he’s probably going to be hit with a pretty heavy sentence,” said Haney.

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About the Contributors
Lorena Chavez, Staff Writer
Lorena Chavez is a senior at CVHS. As a future lighting technician, she always has a wrench on hand for her work with Carnegie Theater. Lorena loves listening to Mitski and Hozier and values any form of art that evokes emotion. She is an animal lover, with 2 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 turtles. Her favorite subjects include English and Art History, and she is excited to write about topics she is passionate about.
My-Tran Vo, Staff Writer
When My-Tran Vo isn’t testing out a new knife by cutting a salami stick for a midday snack, she’s out taking care of the stray cats she feeds. She sees herself in these cats, with them both being shy and easily cold, they have a special kinship she doesn’t get with other creatures. Though My-Tran loves animals, she can’t ever see herself owning a dog because she likes the idea of them more than the reality of them. My-Tran also believes in people's choices to exist how they want within their bodies without external pressure. She sees her not shaving or wearing bras, not as an act of feminist rebellion, but as something she is just allowed to do for no reasons other than her wanting to and being lazy.
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    AlexDec 4, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    great job, this is really well done!