California Abolishes Cash Bail Despite Criticism From Left and Right

30 August, 2018, 13:13 | Author: Grady Montgomery
  • California Abolishes Cash Bail Despite Criticism From Left and Right

"Medium-risk" individuals could be released or held depending on local standards.

A person whose risk to public safety and risk of failure to appear is determined to be "low" would be released with the least restrictive non-monetary conditions possible.

Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) said his bill would address concerns raised by incidents including the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in which a 19-year-old is accused of using an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to kill 17 students and school employees.

Critics have long contended that the money bail system perpetuates inequality. Those facing serious, violent felonies will not be eligible for pretrial release. In the past, Governor Brown has vetoed bills that would have funded health services on college campuses. As the world's fifth largest economy, California has set ambitious goals and knocked them off. People with normal income levels and below who can't pay sky-high bails are often forced to choose between taking a plea deal for a crime they may not have committed or sitting in jail for weeks or months before their case goes to trial. Opponents' arguments range from fear that the legislation gives judges too much power to worry that risky suspects will walk out the door never to return for trial.

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. The clout of the Californian economy could help spur some other states, such as MA and New Jersey, to do the same.

"Californians would be surprised that right now we're probably generating 30% to 40% of our electricity today from clean energy sources like wind and solar", said Dan Jacobson, state director of Environment California.

The state assembly passed the bill on Tuesday and it now awaits Gov. She said there's not enough protection in the law to ensure it doesn't perpetuate racial bias in the criminal justice system. But it faced heavy opposition from the bail industry and some former supporters of the bill, who said significant amendments to the final version would unjustly expand the number of suspects in pretrial detention.

The Judicial Council is the policy-making body for California's courts.



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