(1)(a) When the defendant is continued in custody subsequent to an arrest, an indictment or information shall be filed within forty-five days of the arrest if the defendant is being held for a misdemeanor and within sixty days of the arrest if the defendant is being held for a felony.In other words, the defendant has to be formally charged within two months of arrest, or they walk free. This specific article is the basis for the phrases '701-released' and '60-day homicide'. After Hurricane Katrina many New Orleanians relocated to Houston, TX. Feuds carried over to new neighborhoods, and arrests were made. Houston police didn't understand at first:
But when police interviewed the suspects, they suddenly understood why New Orleans was so violent. No matter what police said, they couldn't get the suspects to talk. They had no leverage because no one took their threats seriously. It was a logical response: in New Orleans, 93% of people arrested from 2003 to 2004 never went to prison. "It was a real eye-opening experience," says Sergeant Harris. "People born and raised in Houston seem to have an understanding of consequences, of punishment. You can show them the options, and they start thinking, Wow, maybe I should start cooperating." With New Orleans evacuees, Sergeant Harris says, "there is no baseline. They have no concept of consequence."Recently elected mayor Mitch Landrieu has stated that making the city safe is his top priority and has acknowledged the murder problem. He's brought in a new police chief, New Orleans native Ron Serpas to help clean up, though critics at Serpas' last place of employment had criticisms concerning his effectiveness.
It was the first time the Houston police had heard the phrase "60-day homicide." Suspects would say, "This ain't nothing but a 60-day homicide," meaning that if they kept quiet for 60 days, they would walk--just as they had too often in New Orleans. So Houston police started letting evacuees spend a few days in jail before questioning them in depth. While they waited, the suspects talked with other inmates and had court appearances--which did not end with release. Eventually, for some, the reality of Texas law began to sink in. "As they stay here more, they seem to talk more," Sergeant Harris says.
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