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Ex parte Castellanos

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

January 23, 2014

EX PARTE FERNANDO CASTELLANOS, Appellant

On Appeal from the 400th District Court Fort Bend County, Texas Trial Court Cause Nos. 13-DCR-062986, 13-DCR-062987 & 13-DCR-062988

Panel consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Jamison and Wise.

OPINION

Ken Wise Justice

Appellant was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, and money laundering in an amount greater than $200, 000. The trial court originally set bail at $500, 000 on each count. Appellant filed an application for writ of habeas corpus requesting a reduction in bail to a reasonable amount, which appellant stated at the hearing would be $50, 000 in each case. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court reduced appellant's bail to $225, 000 for each count. Appellant filed this appeal.[1]

Factual and Procedural Background

Appellant did not testify at the hearing. Ariel Valverde, appellant's cousin, testified as follows:

• Appellant's family and friends have spoken with a bail bondsman and learned they can afford to post a $50, 000 bond on each count.
• Appellant was employed "driving trucks and in construction" for more than five years.
• Appellant has a wife and two adult sons who depend on appellant's income.
• Appellant and his family have lived in the Houston area for approximately eight years.
• Appellant has family in Cuba and has visited Cuba more than twice in the past eight years.
• Appellant has no prior criminal history and is willing to relinquish his passport if he is released on bail.

Antonia Castillo, an employee of a bonding company, ...


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