Cite & Release Returns To SM City Council For Discussion

Staff Reports

Tonight, the San Marcos City Council will hold a discussion and receive a report from the Criminal Justice Reform Committee.

The report will include draft legislation supporting a cite and release program.

In October 2019, the committee began developing language for an ordinance regarding the use of cite and release by local law enforcement.

During the city council’s Oct. 15, 2019, meeting, questions and answers from members of the community and staff prompted council members to return the item to the committee for further development.

Council will discuss the most current version of the draft ordinance and provide direction to the city manager on how they would wish to proceed.

According to the agenda, the Criminal Justice Reform subcommittee has been studying criminal justice reform efforts “in parallel” to what is being done on the county level.

The report includes an analysis of the use of Cite and Release for eligible class A and class B misdemeanors by members of the San Marcos Police Department in 2018 and 2019.

The report shows a majority of defendants, who were arrested by the department for an eligible offense, were not eligible for cite and release.

The agenda states the most common reasons a person is not eligible for cite and release are outstanding warrants for other offenses, the presence of more serious charges not eligible for cite and release or not being a county resident.

According to the analysis, only 31 percent of the 543 people charged with an eligible class A or B misdemeanors were legally eligible to receive a citation in lieu of arrest in 2018; in 2019, only 34 percent of the 398 people arrested were legally eligible for a citation in lieu of arrest.

The analysis defined residency as “people who live, work or go to school in Hays County.”

The San Marcos City Council will convene for their regularly scheduled meeting at 6:00 PM in the city council chambers at city hall.

Residents who wish to speak during the public comment period have until 5:45 PM tonight to sign up at the city clerk’s office.

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