By Stephen Owsinski

It was a deadly week for law enforcement officers. The mantras Enough is enough! and This must stop! had plenty of exposure on social media.

Then came the blatant bias against police officers when a Texas “hearing officer” named Colin B. Amann ruled that a measly $150,000 bond was sufficient enough for a cop killer to roam the streets while the prosecution prepared its murder case against him. Mr. Amann cited the cop killer’s “financial hardships” as justification for the nauseatingly low bond. Bleeding heart much, Mr. Magistrate? Knowing police work does not necessarily pay riches, I wonder about Nassau Bay Police Sgt. Kaila Sullivan’s family and how they would cope with financial hardships exacerbated by their police family not coming home…ever again.

Generally, defendants are only required to pay ten percent of the bond set by the court, meaning the homicide suspect walked freely after posting $15,000. I’m sure this particular defendant would have dutifully shown up for his eventual court proceeding. I mean, before he fled from police, he used his automobile to murder a cop, so why wouldn’t he show up when requested? Every reason to believe he’d skip out, paramount of which is the murder of a law enforcement officer.

The killer in question here is a rapper who goes by the stage name “Killah Dre.” Someone believes there is good reason to feel confident Killah Dre will comply with the criminal justice system’s stipulations, and that someone is named Colin Amann. If only Amann took a look-see at Killah’s material on YouTube or social media, he’d have seen the murder suspect who purportedly suffers “financial hardships” flouting wads of cash while also poking firearms in the air.

To match his bulbous diamond-studded earrings, Killah has diamond-studded teeth that no dental insurance company would dare pay for. So out-of-pocket expense for a showy grill was made possible by a guy who somehow duped the magistrate into thinking he had financial hardships. By the way, Killah’s video above is called “Count It Up.” Irony?

He is not classified as a judge, so who is this hearing officer who is also referred to as “magistrate”? Well, according to his Avvo rating, Mr. Amann is a tenured 32-year criminal defense attorney who is wielding a gavel in a Harris County court of law, and his partiality was as hardened as the Grand Canyon. What does blind-folded Lady Justice represent in the mind of Amann?

Despite the Texas judiciary criteria formulating how much bond amounts are for any classification of crime(s), I can not fathom letting a homicide suspect (out on prior bond) who felled a policewoman egress out the exit door. A statement by Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims “[t]he practice of bail and the issuance of a bond is regulated by Texas Code of Compliance, Chapter 17.” Logically, then, Mr. Amann was privy to these penal guidelines and should have applied them accordingly.

Notwithstanding some latitude granted judicial officials, when did objectivity and statutory stipulations get tossed in the Dumpster, leaving significant cop-killing matters to the casual discretion of a judicial official?

Many inscriptions I read about this particular defendant and Harris County Hearing Officer Colin Amann doling out a ludicrous bond to a cop-killing suspect amount to unequivocal lunacy.

When I read the announcement that the suspect had been apprehended after a gargantuan manhunt, I exhaled deeply and imagined Sgt. Sullivan’s family in quiet repose, knowing that at least that part was over. But prosecution efforts would revisit the tragic ordeal again, salting wounds. And when Amann gave (gifted) such a meager bond, my first thought was how Sgt. Sullivan’s loved ones must feel betrayed by this judicial malarkey.

Have we become that soft on crime? Why?

What absurdity is next: free puppet-show tickets to convicted child predators, with a pinky promise regarding good behavior?

Such foolishness reminds me of Brooklyn, NY’s recently launched diversionary program —Project Reset— whereby they offer art lessons for defendants to channel their energies in creative ways instead of facing the piper in a court of law. I wonder if pastels can remedy street thuggery and the culture of victimizing people; you know, the same victims who are far more deserving of art classes. But no, rewarding bad behavior is the answer, according to NYC officials. When does this idiocy snap out of the warped-brain mentality and mete out justice? Who are the catalysts for these ridiculous reformist ideas? Look no further than NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. A two-hour art course gets an accused criminal’s case dropped. Proud and puffed they are.

As a cop, I had years of subpoenas requesting my testimony in criminal court for people I arrested. I testified before countless judges, some of whom I knew to be former defense lawyers. I often did my homework and researched the assigned judges. Some were clearly objective and followed the guidelines and codes, while others seemed to be hearing criminal cases from the wrong side of the bench, like criminal defense attorneys armed with a gavel…criminal defense attorneys who took to the bench after swearing impartiality in justice applications.

Rest assured, however, that there are folks in judicial positions objectively doing the right thing, like a few other Harris County-area judges who immediately revoked the cop-killer’s bond and remanded him to jail. Sometimes a proverbial slap in the face by one’s own peers is…deservedly eye-opening.

Enter the Damon Allen Act. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and Texas lawmakers have composed a bill “to reform the bail system in Texas to protect law enforcement and enhance public safety.”

Gov. Abbott stated: “With the Damon Allen Act, Texas will take meaningful steps to reform our bail system so that we can better protect innocent life, keep violent criminals off our streets and prevent tragedies like the death of [Trooper] Damon Allen.” During a traffic stop on Thanksgiving Day 2017, Trooper Allen was murdered by a criminal whose history included “assaulting a sheriff’s deputy” and whose recent arrest prior to Thanksgiving 2017 engendered “evading arrest and aggravated assault on a public servant.” Why was the suspect out roaming the planet? He was freed on bond, and the ex post facto explanation claimed the Justice of the Peace did not know of the criminal’s history.

One outtake I found in the Damon Allen Act language is outlined as follows: “For cases involving felony offenses, or misdemeanors involving sexual offenses and assault, these determinations should be done by District Court judges and their associate judges.” That sounds like higher judicial authority, as in higher than a hearing officer or magistrate.

Thus, had this pending Act been already placed in the Texas law books, would Sgt. Kaila Sullivan still be among our faithful first responders doing the honorable job she adored?