Ankle Monitor Bill Spurred by Methodist Dallas Hospital Shooting Heads to Gov. Abbott

If signed into law, the legislation would criminalize disabling or removing ankle monitors in Texas.

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A bill that would criminalize disabling or removing ankle monitors is one step closer to becoming law in Texas.

The proposal, spurred by a double homicide at Methodist Dallas Medical Center about six months ago, is heading to Gov. Greg Abbott after the House took its final vote on the legislation Tuesday. The bill passed the Senate in late March.

If the bill is signed into law, parolees and people out on bond who knowingly remove or disable their ankle monitor will face a felony charge. Intentionally cutting off an ankle monitor currently is an administrative violation, not a criminal offense.

If a parolee removes their monitor, they would have to serve the rest of their original sentence. A judge would decide whether the new sentence would run concurrently with the rest of the person’s original sentence or would start after their original sentence.

The charge would not be brought against someone whose ankle monitor is removed by a health care provider for medical purposes.

Abbott will decide whether to sign the bill into law or veto it. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The legislation was prompted by the Oct. 22 shooting at the hospital in north Oak Cliff, which killed nurse Katie Annette Flowers and social worker Jacqueline Ama Pokuaa. Nestor Hernandez, who is charged with capital murder in the slayings, was a parolee with an ankle monitor who had permission to be at the hospital for the birth of his child, officials have said.

He had previously cut off his monitor after serving 80% of an eight-year prison sentence for an aggravated robbery conviction, officials have said. Methodist Health System’s police chief has said the police had no warning Hernandez would be at the hospital.

Democratic and Republican senators have signed on as co-authors of the ankle monitor bill.

Dallas Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchía, one of the sponsors of the bill, said he doesn’t think the governor would veto the legislation. The House voted 142-2 in favor of the bill’s passage Tuesday.

To read the full article, visit our partners at the Dallas Morning News.

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