- failed to timely notify her probation officer of an address change
- failed to complete anger-control classes
- failed to attend the Personal Money Power Program, and
- failed to pay required fees
she did not report to her probation officer one month and did not attend the Personal Money Power Program because she did not have transportation. She also said that she could not afford the anger-control classes. Soliz testified that she is responsible for seven children, six of her own children and one grandchild, and that she and the children live with her mother. Soliz explained that she works at a Days Inn and recently purchased a car for $1,300. She said that the trial court had placed her on community supervision for the underlying offense because she had slapped her daughter after her daughter had called her a bitch.Judge George Gallagher in the 396th District Court in Tarrant County determined she'd violated her conditions of probation and sentenced Ms. Soliz to two years incarceration. The appellate court affirmed the decision, citing case law to the effect that "proof of any one violation is sufficient to support revocation order."
So now a mother of six who had a job, was paying taxes, and who had just purchased a car to solve her transportation issues, will have taxpayers foot the bill for her room and board for two years while the kids go to grandma or foster care. This arguably punishes her kids and her mother even more than her!
What's more, as the reader who pointed this out to me opined, "This has absolutely NOTHING to do with what this woman took the plea for! This has NOTHING to do with the crime she was charged with! Where is the public outrage on sending people to prison over being poor? Not owning a car?"
This case highlights how so much of the "strong probation" trend in Texas has been a function of Texas judges exercising discretion to use progressive sanctions instead of revoking offenders to prison over unpaid fees or missed meetings. But when there's no new crime, maybe some of that discretion should be reined in. There has to be some intermediate sanction short of prison available in such instances, and there has to be a way to get judges to use them.