Bail Reform Bill
“Excessive bail will not be required, or excessive fines imposed, or cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.” [Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, ratified on December 15, 1791]
The California Constitution states that excessive bail may not be requiredThe California Constitution states that excessive bail may not be required, that in establishing the bail amount, the court shall consider the seriousness of the offense charged, defendant*s prior criminal record, the probability of defendant*s appearance at the trial or any other factors that would be relevant. The public safety is the primary consideration and that release of the defendant on his/her own recognizance (OR) is at the court*s discretion.
It also mandates that an individual accused of a serious felony may be release on bail without a court hearing after due process has been provided to both the defendant and the prosecution. Moreover, if released OR, the court must state on the record, in open court, the reasons for the release and included in the minute order.
There is a *heated* debate whether such reform actually benefits the intended defendantsThere is a *heated* debate whether such reform actually benefits the intended defendants. It is to be noted that judges, not prosecuting attorneys, bureaucrats, or computers have historically set bail amounts during arraignment or thereafter. Under SB10, local courts will create their own evaluation system for deciding who can be safely released while awaiting trial or sentencing. While ankle monitors or other conditions could be required for release, those conditions must be nonmonetary.
People accused of nonviolent misdemeanors would be released within 12 hours after being booked. There are exceptions: those with recent serious or violent felony convictions, multiple failures to appear or allegations involving domestic violence would not qualify. For all others, the local court would assess who is low, moderate or high risk of re-offending and/or fleeing.
Several groups that once stood behind SB10 says the bill will simply result in more people accused of crimes being detained. The California Public Defenders Association, American Civil Liberties Union are among the groups that removed their support of the bill. *This current broken system has created such unfairness, such injustice, said Assemblyman Rob Banta, D-Alameda. *It has also failed to keep us safer, because it*s not based on safety. It*s not based on one*s risk. It*s based on wealth, an arbitrary and irrelevant factor.*