Equal justice for all is called into question when taking a closer look at money bail in the United States. In previous posts, we have discussed California Senate Bill 10 at length. The law means to do away with cash bail and gives judges the power to decide who should be released during pretrial.
At the heart of the debate is how wealthy people can afford to pay their way out of jail and await trial in the comfort of their home. Whereas, those with fewer financial resources have to bide their time behind bars. Guilty or not, lengthy stays in jail can put a defendant at risk of losing their job, home, and being unable to put food on their children’s plates.
While SB 10 was hailed as a victory by criminal justice advocates and many lawmakers across the state, there is a fight underway to obstruct the law and bring things back to the status quo. The bill was on track to go into effect in October 2019, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. However, opponents managed to get enough signatures to qualify a referendum for the November 2020 ballot to determine whether it takes effect.
A Two-Track Plan in San Francisco
There are many components to the debate over money bail in California. One significant facet of this issue is coming out for the Bay Area. A federal judge recently declared the local bail rules in San Francisco unconstitutional, according to the article. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of Oakland ruled that San Francisco’s cash-bail system violated the rights of indigent defendants without promoting public safety.
At a hearing scheduled for Aug. 23, Judge Gonzalez Rogers will decide on a two-track bail plan that includes a new system of pretrial release for defendants who pose no serious risk but can’t afford bail. It would allow judges to detain the most high-risk individuals and grant a pretrial release for low-income defendants.
Regardless of what happens with the referendum next November, Judge Gonzalez Rogers’ decision would remain intact. Other counties and cities would be able to adopt similar bail rules for low-income individuals.
Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower, we can help you or a loved one obtain a favorable outcome in court. Attorney Brower has decades of experience; please contact our office today to learn more.