New law to make California first state to end bail

Muriel Hammond
September 1, 2018

In a statement, the executive directors of the ACLU's three California affiliates said they were disappointed Brown had signed SB 10 into law.

The bill will replace bail with a risk-assessment system, although it's still unclear how the system will work.

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.

Cash bonds, widely used in the US, often mean that poorer defendants remain jailed pending trials, while more financially well-off suspects can afford to pay the bonds and are freed.

"Our path to a more just criminal justice system is not complete, but today it made a transformational shift away from valuing private wealth and toward protecting public safety", Hertzberg said. "California will continue to lead the way toward a safer and more equitable system,", Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, applauded Democrats for coming together to support his legislation in a statement after the bill's passage. Other states, including New Jersey have all passed laws that reduce their reliance on money bail.

But the state has emerged as a bastion of defiance to the Trump administration on climate change, among other issues, as it has been scorched by record wildfires and a prolonged drought. "Medium-risk" individuals could be released or held depending on local standards. Those decisions will be based on an algorithm created by the courts in each jurisdiction.

Instead, local courts will decide whether to keep a suspect charged with violent offenses in jail if they are considered a threat to society or, in non-violent cases, release them on their promise to return to court to face their charges. However, 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. They also could be released but monitored with a Global Positioning System tracking device so authorities know their whereabouts.


The goal of the legislation is to eliminate human bias in court proceedings, but critics argue the new system that will be created by the courts runs the risk of perpetuating discrimination.

Judges will have wide discretion in determining who can be released from jail, and courts must establish "pretrial assessment services" to evaluate a defendant's level of risk to public safety and make recommendations to judges about release conditions. Bail reform has been working pretty well. Ultimately, as it is written, he told the Sacramento Bee, the law discriminates against the poor. "Yet what we had to trade for that win actually sets us further back".

When Senate Bill 10 takes effect on October 1, 2019, defendants will no longer receive dollar bail amounts, and they will not have the opportunity to make a cash payment in order to be released.

"We're gone. We're done".

There are 3,200 licensed bail bondsmen in the state and the industry accounts for at least 7,000 jobs, according to Maggie Kreins, vice president of the California Bail Agents Association.

Telfeyan has mixed feelings about California's bail reform law. Utilities rely on natural gas plants to meet demand when renewables fall short, particularly in the early evening when the sun sets and people turn on their air conditioners as they get home from work.

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