The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday overruled both a Lubbock court and the Seventh Court of Appeals in the Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon capital murder case.
Dixon last year requested that his bond be lowered and State District Judge Jimbob Darnell said ‘no.’ The Seventh Circuit also said, ‘no’ and Dixon appealed further.
On Wednesday the Court of Criminal Appeals wrote, “We hold that the habeas court [in Lubbock] abused its discretion when it denied Appellant relief.”
The CCA also wrote, “We vacate the judgment of the court of appeals, set aside the order of the habeas court denying relief, and order Appellant’s bail reduced to $2 million.”
In the analysis of the case the CCA ruled, “The power to require bail is not to be used so as to make it an instrument of oppression.”
The purpose of bail is to make sure a defendant shows up for trial. Not in so many words, the CCA said bail is not supposed to be punishment.
Dixon, now age 51, of Amarillo was arrested in July of 2012 for the shooting and stabbing death of Dr. Joseph Sonnier.
Prosecutors accused of Dixon of hiring David Neal Shepard to travel from Amarillo to Lubbock to commit the murder. Dixon was romantically interested in a woman Sonnier dated according previous testimony.
Shepard pleaded guilty is currently serving life in prison.
Dixon went on trial in 2014 which ended in a hung jury. The next trial date is set for mid-October.