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Appeals court deems $1 million bond for jailed suspended Smith County constable as 'excessive'

The ruling also said that while $1 million bonds have been set, such as for murder charges, those cases are "distinguishable from the present case."

TYLER, Texas — Editor's Note: This video is from July 2022. 

An appeals court recently ruled the $1 million bond for suspended Smith County Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris, who is accused of stealing and abusing his power while serving an eviction notice, as "excessive."

Traylor-Harris, who was temporarily suspended as Pct. 1 constable in July after a citizen filed a lawsuit to remove him from office, has been in the Gregg County Jail on a $1 million bond since May 13. Authorities said he violated his bond conditions multiple times. 

Traylor-Harris, Pct. 1 Sgt. Derrick Holman and former Pct. 1 Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks were arrested in November last year and are charged with official oppression and property theft.

Judge Jack Skeen Jr. of the 241st District Court initially increased Traylor-Harris' bond from a total of $20,000 to $500,000 due to his first violation. A week later, Skeen increased the bond to total $1 million. 

In an Aug. 30 ruling, the 12th Court of Appeals said after reviewing evidence, the bail is too high.  The ruling also said that while $1 million bonds have been set, such as for murder charges, those cases are "distinguishable from the present case."

The court of appeals said in the ruling the trial court abused its discretion when denying Traylor-Harris' requests to reduce his bond.

It's also noted that there's no specific evidence that Traylor-Harris would be considered a flight-risk. Traylor-Harris has familial ties to the community and a history of employment. 

Traylor-Harris has a pre-trial hearing Friday afternoon in the 241st District Court. 

An arrest affidavit details Banks' body camera footage of Traylor-Harris, Banks and Holman stealing several items from a Tyler residence in late January last year while the resident, who was receiving an eviction notice, was away.

The stolen items included watches, ammunition, cash, Oakley sunglasses, Ray-Ban sunglasses, makeup and a safe containing antique coins, quarter collection, military medals, a diploma, a birth certificate and a social security card, the affidavit read.

Last December, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement suspended all three of their peace officer licenses. Because of the suspension, Banks and Holman cannot work or have authority as peace officers.

RELATED: Jailed Smith County Pct. 1 constable temporarily suspended from office following lawsuit

RELATED: WATCH THIS: Smith County DA's Office releases video of constable, deputies' alleged theft

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