California to become first state eliminating bail for suspects awaiting trial

Aug 31, 2018, 02:47
California to become first state eliminating bail for suspects awaiting trial

Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 10 on the 28th of August.

Each county will use the council's framework as a basis to set its own procedures for deciding whom to release before trial.

"This is bad, this is very bad for California", said Wendy Zamutt. Crime is going down too. "High-risk" individuals would remain in custody until their arraignment, as would anyone who has committed certain sex crimes or violent felonies, is arrested for driving under the influence for the third time in less than 10 years, is already under supervision by the courts or has violated any conditions of pretrial release in the previous five years.

Will replacing cash bail with more power for judges reduce or increase pretrial jail for suspects?

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A 2013 study by the Drug Policy Alliance and Luminosity found that almost 40 percent of jail inmates in New Jersey were locked up because they were too poor to afford their bail. "I think Californians can feel secure this will improve public safety". Despite the serious rape charges against him, he was able to get out of jail before trial by easily paying his $1 million bail. But some opponents, including the ACLU, fear that these changes will result in more people being detained before trial.

Zamutt also noted that she believes it is based against women and black people.

"A person's checking account balance should never determine how they are treated under the law", California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

These same arguments have been heard in other states that have undertaken bail reform, notably New Jersey, which all but abolished cash bail past year.

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Advocates of the California law say incarceration should depend on a suspect's risk to public safety, not the ability to pay.

"Our path to a more just criminal justice system is not complete, but today it made a transformational shift away from valuing private wealth and toward protecting public safety", said state Sen.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), a co-author of SB 10, called the signing of the bill a step toward correcting a fundamental injustice.

The bill "sets up a system that allows judges almost unlimited discretion to order people accused of crimes, but not convicted and presumptively innocent, to be held in jail with no recourse until their case is resolved", the letter stated.

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The ACLU raised concerns that the law doesn't sufficiently address racial bias in pretrial decision making.