California Abolishes Cash Bail Despite Criticism From Left and Right

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"Risk assessment tools are prone to racial, gender, and socio-economic bias, because they rely on criminal justice data", stated the Essie Justice Group.

"While SB 10 eliminates money bail, the replacement could reduce the options for pretrial release for tens of thousands of Californians each year".

Currently, America's broken cash bail system allows for the accused, who have the money, to get out of jail and go home. A pro to the Bill, the rich and the poor will be treated equally.

John Raphling, a senior researcher with the nonprofit Human Rights Watch, said the law replaced an unfair system with a potentially worse one, "empowering judges to take away our liberty based on biased algorithms and the judges' own subjective choices, with no standards and no due process". Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), who authored the bill along with Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda).

The revised bill sailed through the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 16 and advanced to the Assembly floor on the August 20, just after the amendments were adopted.

The ACLU and California progressives pointed to bail injustices revealed in a New York City Criminal Justice Agency study that found non-felony conviction rates jumped from 50 to 92 percent for those jailed pre-trial, while the felony rate jumped from 59 to 85 percent.

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Last week, two Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to Brown urging him to put a cap on any new fossil fuel projects and set a timeline for a hard stop on oil and gas extraction throughout the state.

The model that is driving the momentum for bail reform is the federal system, where defendants are often required to meet specific conditions for pretrial release (e.g., drug treatment, surrender of passports, electronic monitoring) or to sign contracts imposing stiff fees for non-appearance.

In a phone interview, attorney Phil Telfeyan with the Washington, D.C. -based nonprofit Equal Justice Under Law, who is also representing the plaintiffs, said the case is in limbo until the September 7 hearing. "Given that SB 10 does not take effect until October 1, 2019, the judge may decide that the case will go forward as planned", he said.

Eliminating bail is as much about reducing the jail population and addressing racial disparities in criminal justice as it is about financial concerns, Dooley-Sammuli said.

"Make no mistake: We have a critical problem that remains unaddressed", Atkins said in a statement.

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