When Senate Bill 10 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, it was seen as a step in the right direction. The legislation did away with money bail in the State of California and put the decision for which criminal defendant was eligible for release squarely in the hands of judges. While the bill was, by all means, a sweeping criminal justice reform, some criminal justice and civil rights groups believe the legislation gives judges too much power.
SB 10 is now facing opposition from criminal justice advocates and the money bail industry, The Los Angeles Times reports. The latter group has perhaps the most to lose from the law moving forward and is doing everything in its power to impede the legislation. A coalition of bail industry groups collected more than enough signatures needed for a statewide referendum on the law in 2020 and submitted them last month.
Despite such efforts, there are some who are determined to improve the pretrial detention process. California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said that criminal justice reform on the above matter will continue—with, or without, SB 10, the article reports. Even if opponents of the law succeed, Justice Cantil-Sakauye says the state’s top court officials would keep making efforts to enhance the way judges determine who is fit for release before trial.
Abolishing Money Bail
We have covered the topic of cash bail closely in recent months; and, the efforts to repeal the legislation. A bill like SB 10, after all, has the power to change the California legal system drastically. The new voter referendum, suspending some of the state’s bail overhaul efforts until November 2020, will slow the process of instituting more egalitarian methods for handling people awaiting trial. Still, many Californian cities and counties have already begun making the process fairer.
Some 49 California counties use risk assessment tools for determining who should be released pending trial, the article reports. And, eleven counties are utilizing pilot programs to reduce recidivism rates.
“We as a branch supported [Senate Bill] 10 because we believed it was a fairer way to assess a person charged with a crime,” said Cantil-Sakauye. Adding, “We are open to seeing how [bail reform] develops and going back to the drawing board. But we are committed to the fact that this is moving in the right direction.”
Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
We invite adults facing legal trouble to contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower for help. Attorney Brower has the experience to advocate for you and help bring about the best possible outcome.