Okay, here's the thing... I was arrested for "animal abuse" -did not have registration- and taken to the county jail late afternoon. Next morning was taken to the jail's front desk where an old woman in a trenchcoat, looking like a housekeeper, had some papers for me to sign. It finally dawned on me that this woman was actually a JP judge, and the papers were her "findings of probable cause
." She wrote down an extremely high bail without pause to consider, almost as if she'd been prompted, and I have no idea what she based her "probable cause" on, other than simply reading a report or being filled in by a deputy or the DA. Charges turned out to be "misdemeanor
class A animal abuse," rather than simple "class C lack of registration" which should have been administrative and not jailable. There was nobody else present, other than the intake officer, who wasn't even paying attention. She also filled out a simple "certificate of indigence" and scribbled down the name of a defense attorney, and then sent me back to the cell to await a hearing the next week. No mention or consideration of possible bond reduction or PR bond. I'd never been arrested before in my life, and lack of registration is hardly a violent
My question is, was this informal visit by the magistrate in the jail legal? Shouldn't that have taken place in the courtroom next door and been recorded as a normal court
proceeding? And shouldn't bond reduction or PR bond have been at least discussed?