An informed explanation of McMahons' bond hearing
A recent story by the media stated in its title that “Shelby County couple accused of child abuse receive quick release following bond reduction.” At first reading, and without a full knowledge of the laws pertaining to bonds, it would appear that Randa and Matthew McMahon were getting off lightly for the horrendous charge of child abuse. But this is not the case.
The original bond amount for each of the accused parties was $200,000, set by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Margie Anderson. This would be a total of $400,000 the couple would have to raise for their bonds before they would be able to be released to go back to work. They had been in jail for 30 days already.
According to Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires, Article 17:15 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that “people in the shoes of the McMahons are entitled to a bond that they can afford – it is illegal for the State to use the bond amount as an instrument of oppression to keep defendants in jail.” The defendants’ attorneys [Clay Thomas for Randa McMahon and Reynaldo P. Morin for Matthew McMahon] and I,” Mr. Shires continued, “met and agreed on the bond amount and several strict provisions that the McMahons must abide by or their bonds will be revoked.”
These provisions, which were signed off by the 123rd Judicial District Court Judge LeAnn Kay Rafferty, were the following:
- Surrender Defendant’s passport and concealed weapons permit, if any, to the Clerk of the Court to be held pending the outcome of the case;
- Not have any contact with the alleged victim(s), and/or the family/in loco parentis of the alleged victim(s), in the above-referenced cases, including, but not limited to the following individual(s): R.M. AND REGINA RAYMOND.
NO CONTACT AND REMAIN A DISTANCE OF AT LEAST 500 FEET FROM THE RESIDENCE, PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT, AND/OR SCHOOL OF THE ALLEGED VICTIMS OR THE FAMILY OF THE ALLEGED VICTIMS;
This means that Defendant is prohibited from contacting any alleged victim in person, in writing, by email, by telephone, or in any other fashion, or by or through any other person by any means whatsoever, without permission of this Court. This includes the alleged victims’ residence, school, place of business, or any other location at which you may become aware. A violation of this “No Contact” condition will result in the revocation of this bond and your re-arrest. Nothing herein, however, shall be construed to prevent your lawful and actual attorney from conducting an investigation and defense of your case, which may include communicating with the alleged victim(s).
Defendant’s daughters [step-daughters on Matthew McMahon’s form] and their families are excluded from this “no contact” provision.
- Not have any threatening or harassing contact with any witnesses in the above-cases;
- Not possess or use any illicit drugs, illegal drugs, or controlled substances, unless a valid prescription exists in Defendant’s name for said drugs;
- Not commit any crime(s) contrary to the laws of the State of Texas, or any other state of the United States, or any law of the United States;
- Not use or consume any alcoholic beverage(s);
- Not possess, use, buy, or receive any firearm, any explosive device (including fireworks), any ammunition, or other dangerous weapon.
ALL FIREARMS, AMMUNITION, EXPLOSIVES, AND OTHER DANGEROUS WEAPONS SHALL BE DEPOSITED WITH THE SHERIFF OF SHELBY COUNTY PENDING FINAL DISPOSITION OF THIS CASE;
- Avoid persons and places of disreputable or harmful character, including persons who are currently on probation or parole, or those persons who have a criminal record, and those places where alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or dangerous drugs are primarily sold or consumed (“primarily sold” means that over 50% of the sales of the business is for alcohol/controlled substance/dangerous drug);
- Obtain and maintain suitable, full time, employment, and upon request, provide proof of such employment to the Shelby County District Attorney, or to any person he so designates;
- Support your dependents;
- Defendant shall ATTEND ALL COURT DOCKET CALLS AND COURT APPEARANCES relating to all other cases pending in SHELBY COUNTY, TEXAS, including the above-referenced cases.
Each set of provisions was signed by each defendant, Matthew and Randa McMahon, respectively; and by LeAnn Rafferty, District Judge Presiding.
“By allowing the Defendants to be conditionally released on a bond amount that they can reasonably make, they are not sitting in the county jail costing the Shelby County tax payers money,” DA Shires stated. “This also means that Mr. McMahon may continue working, which means that the McMahons are paying for their own attorneys and other costs of defense. Otherwise, the law requires that they be appointed criminal defense attorneys, whose cost would also be borne by the taxpayers..
“It is important to remember, the accused have not yet been indicted,” added Shires.
DA Shires then shared that he met with detectives on June 16 to discuss which charges are appropriate in this matter. “Once the charges are decided, they will be presented to a grand jury for indictment,” Mr. Shires continued. “This is the process guaranteed by the US Constitution. I must not have a lynch mob mentality. I must look at the facts, look at the law, and make an informed, reasoned decision about what the charges should be, and proceed accordingly. The system must allow the defendants the same constitutional rights as anyone else. This after all is the United States –the McMahons are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty to a jury. This is the due process of the law.”
The minor child who is the alleged victim in the case has been removed from the home and placed with his maternal grandmother. As Mr. Shires stated, “This process is far from complete. Our number one priority was to take action to get the child to safety.
“Now, we investigate, file charges, get indictments, and prosecute.”
Shires concluded: “As heinous as the alleged crimes may be, these citizens at this point are merely arrested on suspicion of child abuse charges. The bond amount was set to ensure that the McMahons’ make their future court appearances. We chose to address the other issues, not by the bond amount, but rather with the conditions that are attached to the bond. That is the law. Ultimately, the McMahons must answer to our community for the crimes for which they will be charged. But, most importantly at this stage in the process, the child is safe.”