Gov. Brown signs bill eliminating bail for suspects awaiting trial

Terry Joseph
August 31, 2018

"[It] does a good job balancing public safety and victim's rights with the ability to have a fair system where people are held in custody not based on how deep their pockets are but risk assessment", said Stephan. Let us try and answer some of them for you.

"SB 10 puts all Californians on equal footing before the law and makes public safety the only consideration in pretrial detention".

Brown has yet to confirm he will sign the bill his predecessor as governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, wrote to lawmakers to back the legislation and urge them to be "undeterred by those who wish to stop our progress and move backwards".

If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Rather, SB 10 will require court employees or contractors to carry out assessments of defendant's risk to public safety and the likelihood they will miss a court date while awaiting trial.

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

"Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly", stressed Governor Brown.

"Senate Bill 10 creates a byzantine maze of court hearings that will ultimately result in greater pretrial incarceration, and at a minimum, new opportunities to incarcerate someone before he/she is determined to have actually committed a crime", says a statement from the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

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Authors of the bill, Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), acknowledge that it is a work in progress.

Nonviolent misdemeanor suspects will be released within 12 hours after being booked, with exceptions being made for people with recent violent felony convictions, failures to appear, or domestic violence allegations.

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.

Does the law go far enough?

The debate continued on social media despite the law being signed.

"You don't eliminate an industry and expect those people to go down quietly", he said.

Funding for this new bureaucratic system will be provided by the Legislature and allocated to the local courts by the Judicial Council, which Cantil-Sakuaye chairs.

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