Arrest coincides with Texas Legislature’s push to expand cash bail system and voting restrictions
(July 10, 2021) HOUSTON — Hervis Rogers, a Black man whose story went viral last year after waiting in line for over six hours to vote on Super Tuesday, was bailed out today by The Bail Project. Rogers was arrested earlier this week on allegations of illegal voting and held on $100,000 bail. The 62-year old believed he was eligible to vote.
“Voting restrictions and the expansion of the cash bail system go hand in hand” said Robin Steinberg, Founder and CEO of The Bail Project. “Mr. Hervis’s situation is a textbook example of how these systems intersect to undermine our fundamental rights and target minorities. In their fevered desire to suppress the turnout of people of color, the Texas Attorney General has engaged in political theatre, while using the bail system to send a targeted message of fear.”
Despite voting in the Texas Democratic primary more than a year ago, Rogers was only charged this week as the Texas Legislature starts a special session where pending bills on new voting restrictions and cash bail are two top agenda priorities. The House and Senate bills on cash bail would expand the use of cash bail and restrict the work of nonprofit bail funds like The Bail Project, while legislation on new voting restriction would ban the distribution of mail-in ballot applications and 24-hour voting among other things.
Rogers is represented by the law firm Hochglaube & DeBorde and the ACLU of Texas.
Said Andre Segura, Legal Director of the ACLU of Texas: “It’s a relief that Mr. Rogers is no longer in jail. He should not have been arrested and charged in the first place, and certainly should not have been forced to languish in jail on an outrageously high bail amount. This prosecution demonstrates the danger to Texan citizens when even innocent mistakes in the voting process can be criminalized. Mr. Rogers received national praise for his commitment to casting a ballot, and we will continue to fight for justice for him and will push back against efforts to further restrict voting rights.”
Said Nicole DeBorde Hochglaube of Hochglaube & DeBorde: “We are very proud to stand with Hervis, a hard-working man who successfully completed years and years of strictly supervised rehabilitation after mistakes in his youth. We will fight for him like he fought successfully for so many years to show society he deserved to be a productive and participating part of our society again. This case, for us, is about who we let the government decide to throw out like trash and who we deem worthy of the basic rights to participate in the processes we all hold dear.”
Texas taxpayers spend approximately $2.2 billion each year to run the state’s jails. Nearly three in four of the more than 60,000 individuals in Texas jails sit behind bars without having been convicted of a crime. Most are awaiting court dates and can’t get out because they cannot afford cash bail. The practice disproportionately impacts Black Texans who are incarcerated at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts.
About The Bail Project
The Bail Project is a national nonprofit organization that provides free bail assistance and community-based pretrial support for thousands of low-income individuals each year, while working at the policy level to eliminate cash bail. Since 2018, The Bail Project has posted $42 million in free bail assistance for more than 17,000 low-income individuals in 27 jurisdictions across the United States. To learn more about The Bail Project, visit bailproject.org and aftercashbail.org.
About the ACLU of Texas
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is the leading civil rights organization in the Lone Star State. Since our formation in 1938, we have worked in the courts, the legislature, and through public education to protect civil rights and individual liberty. To learn more about the ACLU of Texas, visit aclutx.org.