02/28/2018

Questions have come up as a result of what happened at Akins High School so I am providing a statement on the circumstances surrounding the bond setting for Ariel Ramirez-Navarro.

I set the bond based on the information provided by the arresting officer and the probable cause affidavit he submitted. The bond amount I set was fairly high for a first offender with no criminal history and no juvenile or adult arrests of any kind. There was also no indication or evidence of any mental health issues.

The bond was set with all the available information at that time.

Ariel was released after securing a surety bond from a bail bondsman. Neither I, or any other judge, signed a bond authorizing his release. Every person arrested is entitled to a bail amount to be set, and can access a bail bondsman to get released from custody while their case is pending.

Several days after Ariel’s release I was contacted by Mindy Montford from the District Attorney’s office regarding the bond. After receiving new, additional information from her, I agree that adding bond conditions is appropriate.

Having served on the board of CARY (Council on At-Risk Youth) for several years, I am very aware of the serious issues regarding at-risk youth. I understand that this is a serious and scary issue, especially on the heels of the Florida incident. This young man, Ariel Ramirez-Navarro, needs services and intervention of the kind that CARY provides.

As a Judge with eight years experience, I am dedicated to administering justice with fairness and compassion, and following the rule of law. I deliberate carefully and have solid reasoning for every decision.

Regarding the judicial reappointment process I can say that all the judges in question are dedicated to administering justice and following the rule of law. Every one of us deliberates carefully and has solid reasoning for every decision. It’s a shame that if the Austin City Council had concerns they did not have an open and fair dialogue with any of us before making their decision on who to reappoint to the bench.

 

Sincerely,

Judge Celeste Villarreal

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I was an attorney for many years until I became a judge for the city of Austin. I have always been heavily involved in my community, and I have extensive media experience. Now I am available to perform civil marriage ceremonies for you and your soon-to-be spouse. I have performed several of them in very beautiful locations, and would be happy to help you and your loved one. Please contact me right away if you have any questions.

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