California Ends Cash Bail For Pre-Trial Incarcerations

Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies inspect a cell block at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca says he plans to implement all the reforms suggested by a commission in the wake of allegations that a culture of violence flourished in his jails. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

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Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that makes California to be the first state to abolish cash bail for pre-trial incarcerations.

Brown was surrounded by Assembly Speaker Rendon (D-Los Angeles), Senate President pro Tempore Atkins (D-San Diego), California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, and others at the “SB 10: California Money Bail Reform Act” signing ceremony.

Brown described the new law, which takes effect on October 1, 2019 as establishing a pre-trial system that allows judges to determine a defendant’s custody status based on a non-monetary assessment of public safety risk and the probability of the defendant missing a court date. Brown added: “Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly.”

Each of California’s 58 counties will establish local agencies that will set up a criteria for low, medium and high likelihood of an individual arrested on felony charges showing up for court hearings or being rearrested if released on their honor, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Low-risk evaluations would result in release with the least restrictive nonmonetary conditions; medium risk terms would be determined according to local standards. But high-risk evaluations — those having previously violated conditions of release; having been arrested for a violent felony, or sex crime; having a third DUI within 10 years; or being already on probation — would not be eligible for pre-trial release.

Brown honored the pledge he made last year to work with the Democrat-controlled legislature and Supreme Court Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye to pass the reform before leaving office in January, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched its Campaign for Smart Justice last December to abolish money bail, which it considers a predatory system that allows people to sit in jail awaiting trial simply because they are too poor to afford the cost of their release.

The ACLU and California progressives pointed to bail injustices revealed in a New York City Criminal Justice Agency study that found non-felony conviction rates jumped from 50 to 92 percent for those jailed pre-trial, while the felony rate jumped from 59 to 85 percent.

But the ACLU announced on August 20 that it had changed its position and was opposed to the amended version of SB 10 with an overly broad presumption of preventative detention that “is not the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that the ACLU of California envisioned.”

The Times reported that Republican Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) said that eliminating bail would put a big financial burden on California’s 58 counties, and expects that SB 10 will be overturned in constitutional challenges in the courts.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye praised SB 10 as a “transformative day for our justice system” and thanked the “judges in my Pretrial Detention Reform Work Group to bring about a fair and just solution for all Californians.”

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  1. Gotta Gedada Displace says

    First felonies get downgraded to misdemeanors, now loosen bail requirements – CA is now also a sanctuary state – for CRIMINALS ! Best working conditions in the USA! And WHAT CRIMINAL will FAIL to qualify as “LOW INCOME” – Do you think they file 1099’s, W-2s, and 1040s you SACRAMENTO MORONS ??? Just add “Smart” to the title of anything, and the Sacto morons who are anything BUT smart will read the title and pass it ! I am ONE HOUSE SALE AWAY from ESCAPING THIS ASYLUM !!!

  2. What the hell?? The criminals run the state now?? My question is how much is this going to cost us in raised taxes and more crime.

  3. Criminals are the Liberals Dem voters.

  4. Unlike those who don’t understand our justice system, and keeping in mind I am a staunch conservative, I applaud this bill. People should NOT be detained or held without a reasonable means to bail out – not rot in a jail cell until their trial. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Remember that.

    For you people who think this is crazy, then you don’t understand and/or refuse to accept that there are innocent people arrested every day. Most charges filed Police Officers are trumped up. I am retired LEO so I know of what I speak.

    Good move, Jerry Brown. First smart thing I’ve seen you do.

    • showandtell says
    • Hanebury John says

      I was always under the impression that bails were always set based on the judges discretion, ranging from very high bails for serious charges and those considered a flight risk to others released on their own recognizance. Considering the liberal judges we appear to have, it seems this law will only put more criminals back on the streets, create a much longer list of arrest warrants and increase the work load on already overworked LEOs.

  5. Mr. Pickle says

    Craziness! Are the Dem legislators mentally retarded for supporting this, and worse yet the Moonbeam signing it. EVERY Law Enforcement agency I know of OPPOSED this bill, so what does that say? Our country is going to hell in a hand basket. Take our state and country back by throwing out every Democrat in California. Sad and dismayed for sure. SUPPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT, as they deal with the scumbags on a daily basis, but were ignored……………… 🙁

  6. Oh now, quit your worrying! Everything will be OK when Newsom pushes through his Medicaid for ALL illegals as soon as he is elected guvner!

  7. Brenda Torres says

    More Government Control!!! More Socialist Democrat’s ‘Free’ Get Out of Jail Cards!!! Instead of creating jobs, they are taking away jobs! Creating More Welfare for illegals and the unemployed all at the price of the Working Class in America! Everything for Free, pretty soon there will be no one to pay for all this government Free Stuff and then everyone will be running to the government who then will close the Trap…Full on Socialism!!! Government ran Schools, Medical, Farms for our Food, etc. etc….

  8. showandtell says

    “What the bail bond industry is doing about the passage of SB 10”
    Just hit play to hear the segment on KFI-AM 640 from this afternoon, August 30

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