Fresh off winning an appeal drastically lowering his bond after allegations he violated terms of his release from jail on two charges, a suspended Smith County constable wants his job back.

Curtis Traylor-Harris was released from Gregg County Jail on Sept. 23 after spending more than four months behind bars on suspicion he violated the terms of his release on bond on charges of official oppression and theft of property by a public servant, according to online records.

He was jailed May 13, and 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr. set bonds of $500,000 on each of the charges for a total $1 million bond.

The suspended Smith County Pct. 1 constable, who was originally arrested in November on three charges and later indicted on two of those, requested a bond reduction, which Skeen denied.

Traylor-Harris appealed the decision. In a judgment issued Aug. 30, the Court of Appeals for the 12th District of Texas said comparisons with bond amounts set for similar cases “leads us to conclude that the bail is too high.”

The judgment also said, “... we hold that the amount of Appellant’s bail is unsupported by the evidence and therefore excessive,” and that “... the trial court abused its discretion ...”

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The appeals court sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Visiting Judge Alfonso Charles in the 241st District Court, who is also presiding judge of the 10th Administrative Judicial Region, signed the motion in September to reduce bond to $20,000 for each of the two charges Traylor-Harris now faces.

Charles also denied Traylor-Harris’ request to remove Skeen as trial judge for the case.

Traylor-Harris, along with former Pct. 1 Chief Deputy LaQuenda Banks and Pct. 1 Sgt. Derrick Holman, was initially arrested on charges related to theft of ammunition, watches, sunglasses, makeup and cash while serving an eviction notice in Tyler, according to police documents.

According to the arrest affidavit, body camera footage from Banks, Holman and other video shows Traylor-Harris, Banks and Holman rummaged through the residence while the occupant was away.

The items reported missing by the resident include four watches, a partial box of .22 caliber ammunition, a box that could contain Apple Air Pods, Oakley sunglasses, Ray-Ban sunglasses, makeup and a safe containing antique coins, quarter collection, military medals, a diploma, a birth certificate and a social security card. More than $750 in cash was also reported missing, the affidavit stated.

All three were released from jail soon after their arrests on bonds totaling $30,000. All three had their peace officer licenses suspended on Dec. 3, a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement spokesperson said at the time.

Traylor-Harris, however, remained in office pending a civil lawsuit filed in June to remove him from office. A judge in July found in favor of the state and suspended Traylor-Harris as constable.

Ralph Caraway Jr. was then sworn in as interim Smith County Pct. 1 constable.

Traylor-Harris has been suspended from the constable position pending final removal or conviction on the charges, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Wilson said in July.

Traylor-Harris this week filed a motion in the civil suit to lift his suspension.

In the motion, Traylor-Harris argues that the person who filed the petition for his suspension did not have legal standing to do so. A response to the motion had not been filed early Friday afternoon.

The motion also says Traylor-Harris “is no longer incarcerated and able to fully perform the duties of the position for which he was duly elected.”

Online records show Traylor-Harris is scheduled for a jury trial on the two criminal charges on Oct. 17.

 
 

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Multimedia Reporter

Multimedia Reporter for the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Salvadoran born and raised and TCU graduate. For story ideas contact me at osaravia@tylerpaper.com