April 13, 2021 06:33

California Bills Add Weight to Fight Against Money Bail

If passed and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, newly proposed Senate Bill 262 and Assembly Bill 329 will set bail at $0 for misdemeanors and “low-level felonies,” and require that bail money be refunded if an arrestee makes all their court appearances, their charges are dropped or their case is dismissed, reports the Courthouse News Service. The bills stem from voters’ rejection of Proposition 25, which would have enacted Senate Bill 10, a law that abolished cash bail in favor of computer-based “risk assessment” models.

Under the risk assessment models, judges would determine whether and under what conditions pretrial detainees can be safely released to await trial. While the bail industry spent millions of dollars campaigning against the measure State Senator Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from Los Angeles who co-wrote SB 10 with Bonta and state Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, vowed to continue his longstanding fight against the bail bonds industry last November. “The arc of justice is long, but it bends toward ending cash bail,” he said at the time. “Millions of dollars from the predatory bail industry may buy them some time, but it can’t overpower our movement toward justice.”

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