A Dallas serial rape suspect charged in several sexual assaults was released from jail after a judge set him free until his upcoming trial.
Joseph Beaty is charged with three sexual assaults dating back to 2009. He was in jail for 17 months before a judge set him free until his trial in February. The Court of Appeals said prosecutors and the judge weren't following the law.
What happened in court on Tuesday was very rare when an appeal was made before the outcome of a case has been settled. Texas law allows for what’s called ‘interlocutory actions’ when an issue like whether someone is being held in jail unfairly or questions about bail has to be settled before a trial is over.
Judge Rick Magnis was ordered by the Court of Appeals to reverse a previous ruling by him that kept Beaty behind bars with a high bond. He was first arrested in July 2015 by Dallas police and charged in a 2009 sexual assault.
Beaty’s DNA was put into a national database after his 2013 arrest for sexual assault in Arlington but was not indicted in that case.
Beaty’s bond was set at $100,000 in the Dallas case. His wife made bail for him.
“There were two other cases that they already had, kind of in the pipeline,” said his attorney, Jasmine Crockett. “So they went and arrested him on those two other cases, and they held the bond insufficient. So essentially, they lost that money in less than a week's time.”
Beaty's bond was raised to $250,000. He'd been in jail seven months when the state asked for an extension, saying it was not ready to proceed.
At that time, Crockett filed a writ asking he be released from custody, either by lowering his bond or on his own personal promise to appear in court because he'd been in jail more than 90 days, and the state was not ready to go to trial as the law requires.
“The judge disagreed siding with the state, saying he is a danger to the community,” she said.
Crockett filed with the Fifth Court of Appeals. In its opinion, the court wrote, “We conclude the trial court abused its discretion in denying relief and thus reverse and remand these cases."
“The Court of Appeals has made it clear that I have to set a bond that this defendant can afford to post, regardless of the danger he poses to the community or his ties to the community,” Magnis said.
After hearing evidence of Beaty's inability to come up with any bond, the judge said he had no discretion and had to grant him a personal recognizance bond in all three cases.
Heavy restrictions were placed on Beaty. He will be on house arrest and must wear an electronic monitor.
Beaty will be back in court in February when his trial on the three Dallas sex assault cases is set to begin.