Texas AG Ken Paxton ripped after Black man arrested for voting on parole finally made $100,000 bail

Hervis Rogers made national news in 2020 for waiting in line for seven-hours to vote in the Super Tuesday primary in Texas.

"Wasn't going to let anything stop me," Rogers famously said.

On Wednesday, Rogers was arrested and charged by Attorney General Ken Paxton for allegedly voting while on probation in violation of disenfranchisement law in Texas.

After spending three nights in jail, Rogers was released after his bond was paid by The Bail Project, a nonprofit that provides bail assistance for low-income defendants.

Founder and CEO Robin Steinberg blasted Paxton in a statement.

"Voting restrictions and the expansion of the cash bail system go hand in hand," Steinberg said. "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."

Andre Segura, the legal director of the ACLU of Texas, also blasted the prosecution.

"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."

The prosecution was also criticized by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Friday.

"Also, I should tell you this. Hervis Rogers lives in Harris County — the big diverse county that includes Houston that I just told you about. Hervis Rogers lives in Harris County, he voted in Harris County, but the Texas attorney general has chosen to file these charges against him in neighboring Montgomery County," Maddow reported.

"We asked the attorney general's office why they filed these charges in that other county. They told us, essentially, 'because we can.' They told the law allow them to file the charges in any county that abuts Harris County, if they want to. They wouldn't tell us why they picked Montgomery County to press these charges specifically," she continued. "I can tell you though that according to the most recent U.S. Census data, of the eight possible counties that abut Harris County, of the eight possible counties they could legally have charged Hervis Rogers, of the eight which they have the option of drawing a jury pool if this case goes to trial, Montgomery County is just about the whitest. It has the lowest proportion of African American residents of any of those counties."

"I mean, I can't tell you for certain that is relevant there, but I can tell you that it's true," she noted. "The attorney general's office, we went back to them again, they will not tell us why they chose this county."

Maddow was also suspicious about the timing of the prosecution.

"The alleged illegal voting Hervis Rogers is accused of took place a year and a half ago. It's not like he was hiding, like I said, he was a national media figure for a hot minute because he had to cast his vote after that six-plus-hour wait before heading off to his other job," she said. "But apparently this is the moment to arrest him, to lock him up on $100,000 bail and to bring charges against him that could put him in jail for decades. This is the moment, for some reason, now, had to happen today. As Republican legislators gather in the Texas state capitol to make it harder for Texans who look like Hervis Rogers to vote."

"And just in time for Ken Paxton to give his big headliner speech at CPAC this weekend in Dallas, before Donald Trump takes the stage there," Maddow noted. "Yah, you know, forge your dead parents' signature in order to vote for Trump, slap on the wrist, maybe. Try to overturn a whole democratically decided election? You get to be attorney general of Texas, even if you are already under indictment. But wait in line for over six hours to cast a vote a few weeks before your parole is up, you get locked up with bail you cannot possibly pay, charged in a county that seems designed to ensure an all-white jury for you, threatened with decades in prison."


Maddow www.youtube.com