California governor signs landmark bill to eliminate cash bail

Clark Diaz
August 29, 2018

San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan supports releasing misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenders from jail in 12 hours without posting bail and keeping more serious offenders in jail until trial.

An overhaul of the state's bail system has been in the works for years, and became an inevitability earlier this year when a California appellate court declared the state's cash bail system unconstitutional.

As the US' most populous state, just over a third of energy in California comes from wind, solar or geothermal power, CBS said citing the US Energy Information Administration.

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"Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly", Brown said in a statement, according to The Sacramento Bee.

"[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.

While other states such as New Jersey and Kentucky have greatly reduced their reliance on bail, California is the first state to make the elimination of cash bail its official policy. In other instances, defendants will be scored on how likely they are to show up for their court date, the seriousness of their crime, and the likelihood of recidivism.

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Under the new law, a pretrial assessment would be done by either court employees or a local public agency that has been contracted to determine a defendant's risk. "Yet what we had to trade for that win actually sets us further back". Incarceration should instead depend on the risk a defendant poses if they are released, they argue.

The bill faced sharp criticism from the bail bond industry and the American Civil Liberties Union.

But in the last few weeks, as this final compromise bill was revealed, the ACLU and some other groups who have really pushed for this reform said they are going to oppose it. It creates rules and procedures to ensure consistency across the state.

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