Saturday, May 18, 2024

Gov. Jerry Brown (California) Signs Bill Overhauling Bail System: Fair Treatment for Rich or Poor

*(Via LA Times) – California Gov. Jerry Brown has championed legislation and ballot measures downgrading drug crimes, expanding chances of early release for prisoners and easing punishment for juvenile offenders.

On Tuesday, he ushered in one of the most sweeping criminal justice reforms of his administration, signing a bill abolishing the state’s current money bail system, and replacing it with one that grants judges greater power to decide who should remain incarcerated ahead of trial.

The legislation virtually eliminates the payment of money as a condition of release. Under last-minute changes to the proposal, judges will have greater power to decide which people are a danger to the community and should be held without possibility of release in a practice known as “preventive detention.”

Brown first urged the Legislature to take on bail reform decades ago, calling it a “tax on poor people” in his 1979 State of the State address. The new law puts California at the forefront of a national push to stop courts from imposing a heavy financial burden on defendants before they have faced a jury.

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Brown said in a statement.

The law, which will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2019, is expected to decimate the bail-bond industry, and many unanswered questions remain about how the shift will alter the criminal justice system.

Get the FULL story at LA Times.

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