Published: Thu, August 30, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Gov. Brown Signs Bail Reform Bill

Gov. Brown Signs Bail Reform Bill

It is too early to determine, however, whether the discretion given to judges in assessing the risks involved in pretrial release is producing inequities in the system.

Will replacing cash bail with more power for judges reduce or increase pretrial jail for suspects? Judy Woodruff interviews Marisa Lagos of public television station KQED, which has covered the story. Bail reform targets the practice of jailing those who can't afford to pay the court (or more bail bondsmen) - the funds necessary to remain free pending trials that may occur months or even years later.

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".

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

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 Times reported that Republican Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) said that eliminating bail would put a big financial burden on California's 58 counties, and expects that SB 10 will be overturned in constitutional challenges in the courts.

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California is the first state to get rid of cash bail completely. Bob Hertzberg, Democrat-Van Nuys, who authored the bill.

"It can not guarantee a substantial reduction in the number of Californians detained while awaiting trial, nor does it sufficiently address racial bias in pretrial decision making", leaders of three American Civil Liberties Union chapters in California said in a joint statement. Incarceration should instead depend on the risk a defendant poses if they are released, they argue.

Nor has the crime wave many conservative critics predicted bail reform would produce actually materialized, at least so far.

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.

Her decision has caused political uproar.

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