‘Zero Bail’ Goes Into Effect In LA County and City

The people of California voted on it, rejected it, yet lawmakers and judges in this state keep pushing for it against the will of the people

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

The city and county of Los Angeles resumed ‘zero bail’, or the action of not having those with low level, non-violent crimes pay cash bail in order to be released before an arraignment, on Wednesday, following a preliminary injunction ruling made last week by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.

Bail has been a hot button issue in California for the last several years. Zero bail was outright rejected by state voters in 2020, but has continuously been brought back up in the legislature since. The California Supreme Court has also wrestled with the issue. However, a focal point on zero bail has been Los Angeles. Like other cities and counties, including San Francisco, LA has gone back and forth on zero bail over the last few years. There has been total cash bail, no cash bail except for serious offenses, and middle of the ground approaches based on if suspects can pay and what impact it would have on them.

The last option in particular  has been scrutinized due to opponents of cash bail saying that lower-income criminals could miss work and other important duties and events as a result, while proponents say that the policy only brings criminals back out onto the the street. While data has shown that zero bail usually result in more crime, opponents have also brought lawsuits against cash bail policies due to certain instances. A lawsuit filed in LA County earlier this year by six criminals who said they missed work and went without prescription medication for several days due to not being able to afford bail was ruled on last week.

According to the suit, “Being jailed for even short periods of time may cause them to lose their jobs, their housing, or custody of their children. They suffer all the harms of confinement in a jail cell even though a large portion of them will never be formally charged with any crime, let alone convicted.”

Zero bail in LA

The suit, Urquidi v. City of Los Angeles, wound up favoring cash bail opponents. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff found that cash bail was a constitutional violation when it directly went against lower-income people from being able to pay.

“Enforcing the secured money bail schedules against poor people who are detained in jail solely for the reason of their poverty is a clear, pervasive, and serious constitutional violation,” Judge Riff said last week. “Evidence shows the preliminary injunction will reduce the incidence of new criminal activity and failures to appear for future court proceedings.”

“The plaintiffs produced a vast amount of evidence via expert witnesses and over a dozen academic studies, which decisively showed that money bail regimes are associated with increased crime and increased failures to appear as compared with unsecured bail or release on non-financial conditions. Evidence demonstrates that secured money bail, as now utilized in Los Angeles County, is itself ‘criminogenic’ — that is, secured money bail causes more crime than would be the case were the money bail schedules no longer enforced.”

As a result, the new policy went into effect on Wednesday and is expected to stay in place for the next 60 days to allow LA to construct new plans for enforcement around the zero bail system, such as pre-trial supervision and monitoring in lieu of a cash bail being held above them to meet their court date. Both the city and County of LA will also need to file a report of what they will do to follow the new zero bail system by July 5th, with a feasibility hearing on them to be heard on July 10th.

However, opponents have said that they would fight back against the policy, especially if crime rises as a result of the new policy.

“This isn’t over,” explained Manuel Esposito, a bail business consultant who has helped many bail companies stay afloat, to the Globe on Wednesday. “This can be appealed, this can be challenged again, this can be reversed. There are a ton of options right now. Hell, they can fail the feasibility hearing and the whole zero bail experiment can be dropped.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe


  1. Richard Cathcart says

    Their one clear demonstration is simple: The Justice System is making its job easier, simplified and as crooked as the instituting persons committing this crime against decent taxpayers.

  2. This will all stop when there are a few home invasions by released felons into ruling class neighborhoods.
    The Marxist left willful disregard for common sense must lead to its downfall. California has become the laughing stock of America.Until we become a two party state again the authoritarian democrats will continue their reckless assault on everything that has made us great.

  3. Fed Up in LA says

    OK – Voters – It is time to FIRE these idiots!!! They’re NOT listening to us, the voters and taxpayers. They’re intentionally destroying this county. Get out and GO TO THE POLLS – VOTE THEM OUT!!!! Become a poll watcher and see how they destroy our system of free elections. DEMAND all voters have an official ID!

  4. SBradley says

    If it’s unconstitutional, as it clearly is, it doesn’t matter which way the whims of the voting public go. It should be difficult in America to detain someone simply because they’ve been accused of a crime, even a lot of serious crimes. But the money bail system does it routinely. And by creating outcomes that are different depending on if you’re able to come up with bail money, it clearly violates the Equal Protection Clause. I know we’re addicted to our current justice system to the point where we can’t even imagine doing things differently, but if we honor the US Constitution, as we profess to, our bail/pretrial/detention practices need to change.

Speak Your Mind