California considers an end to bail: ‘We’re punishing people simply for being poor’


Proponent Assemblyman Rob Bonta

California: Where all decisions are now made under the interpretation of some fluid rules of “social justice.”

From Sacramento Bee: On any given day, most inmates in California jails have not yet been convicted of a crime. About 63 percent are being held awaiting trial, according to data collected by the Board of State and Community Corrections, an average of nearly 47,000 people. Federal statistics on the largest urban counties show that from 2000 to 2009, California kept unsentenced felony defendants in jail at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the country.

For state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, the problem is clear: Bail is “just too expensive.” The median amount in the state is $50,000, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, five times higher than the national average.

Too many Californians find themselves stuck in custody because they cannot afford to bail out, the Los Angeles Democrat said, a personal crisis that can ripple across their lives in dramatic ways.

“They can’t pay their rent. They can’t pay child support or take their kids to school. There’s so many other consequences to that,” Hertzberg said. “That isn’t patriotic. That isn’t American. That isn’t the right thing to do.”

With criticism mounting that it creates unequal justice based on wealth, California is rethinking monetary bail. Hertzberg and Assemblyman Rob Bonta are pursuing legislation this session to overhaul the practice, while Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye formed a working group in the fall to explore possible changes.

“The only nexus is between who gets out and who has money,” Bonta, a Democrat from Alameda, said. “We’re punishing people simply for being poor.”

Political interest in the issue has been surging nationally, with New Jersey and New Mexico recently eliminating bail for minor crimes. But any measure will likely face heavy opposition from bail bond agents, police officers and district attorneys who see the current system as integral to public safety.

Topo Padilla, president of the Golden State Bail Agents Association, said monetary stakes are the best way to ensure that someone appears in court after being released. “I can’t guarantee it either. But I have someone to back the game up. I have a co-signer,” he said. “And we do that at no cost to the taxpayers.”

California allows each county to set its own bail schedule by crime. In Sacramento, for example, rates range from $5,000 for possession of a controlled substance to $20,000 for resisting or deterring an officer to $1 million for sexual assault of a child.

Offenders can pay the entire amount, to be returned at the conclusion of their case, or apply for a surety bond through companies that charge a 10 percent fee. Those who cannot afford either option may ask a judge to adjust the amount based on factors such as their criminal history, the seriousness of the crime and their likelihood of showing up for their next court date.

It took David Howell 39 days and three requests for a bail reduction before he secured his release from the Sacramento County jail early last week.  In late December, the retired California Highway Patrol dispatcher was arrested on a charge of possession of a firearm while under a restraining order. He was stunned and “devastated” to find out that bail had been set at $200,000, twenty times the standard rate in Sacramento County for that misdemeanor.

At age 62, his only previous arrest had come in October, for a misdemeanor violation of the restraining order. He has disputed the allegations of domestic violence that prompted the order and his subsequent charges in court. Unable to afford the massive bail fee, Howell said, “I felt trapped.” For weeks, he could not take daily treatments for two eye conditions that are slowly making him blind.

Bail was eventually dropped to $100,000 and then, on Friday, to $15,000, in recognition of Howell’s short criminal history. After deliberating for two days about whether the money would be better spent on future legal costs and medical bills, he paid $1,500 for a commercial bail bond because fighting his case would be easier from outside jail.

“You feel like you’ve been thrown away. You feel like nothing,” Howell said. Despite his years in law enforcement, his faith in the fairness of the legal system is lost: “All the time I had been working in a dream world.”

Though Bonta and Hertzberg announced the bail overhaul as a legislative priority when the session began in December, nothing specific is proposed. Ideas have been floated to introduce risk assessment into the process, lower the schedule of bail rates or even do away with monetary bail altogether.

Consensus on a solution has not emerged, even among political allies. Hertzberg said he doesn’t mind the idea of someone bailing out of jail, as long as it is affordable, and his goal is not to put bail bond companies out of business.

Others working on the legislation, such as the American Civil Liberties Union of California, would like to see monetary bail eliminated. Legislative advocate Mica Doctoroff said the integrity of criminal justice is compromised when families have to pay a for-profit company to secure their loved ones’ freedom, potentially putting them into debt, even if the charges are later dropped. “You and your family can end up being forced to pay these fees for a crime you didn’t even commit,” she said.

The difficulties of mounting a defense from behind bars increase pressure on those who cannot post bail to simply accept a plea bargain and resolve their case, Doctoroff added. “Our existing money bail system has really driven justice and freedom further out of reach for far too many people in California, particularly low-income people and people of color.”

Read the rest of the story here.


22 responses to “California considers an end to bail: ‘We’re punishing people simply for being poor’

  1. California really should secede because it is increasingly devolving into an antithesis of the Founding Fathers’ American republic. Pray for the conservatives and patriots who are stuck living there.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Let us also keep in mind the sick & broke who are stuck here & hate the cultural vacuous wasteland this state has become. A veritable nihilistic free for all. I thank God my family & I are still together and have a house for now. We are here for the long haul, not by choice. Locked & loaded.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. More left/libtard progressivism…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Then why even arrest people? Just give them a ticket to appear in court. That would include armed robbery, rape, murders etc. No arrest? No need for bail. This makes just as much since as getting rid of the bail system. If the jails are so full of poor people then maybe the poor people are committing too many crimes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Like Steely Dan put it:
      In the mornin’ you go gunnin’
      For the man who stole your water
      And you fire ’till he is done in
      But they catch you at the border
      And the mourners are all singin’
      As they drag you by your feet
      But the hangman isn’t hangin’
      So they put you on the street
      You go back, Jack
      Do it again
      Wheel’ turnin’ round and ’round
      You go back, Jack
      Do it again


  5. “You feel like you’ve been thrown away. You feel like nothing,”

    Uh huh. And the victims of their crimes feel the losses of whatever they were deprived of, whether it be their safety, health, or property. Naturally, we should pity the perpetrators.

    The whole “they haven’t even been convicted” argument is pathetic. As if the police are out there arresting people for no reason.

    Virtually every arrestee who “gets off” without a conviction did so merely because the police colored a tiny bit outside the lines somewhere in the whole procedure.

    I’m against the police state, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to become pro-crook.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When me and my husband were living in the city, we got broken into while we were away building our house (to escape the city), they got some stuff, and left our door messed up too, stole a nice leather jacket and took my only book bag. So, we messed up! The drunk a-hole that busted into our house (we could still smell the reek of booze), he was just a VICTIM. Oh poor baby. Golly, were we wrong to be mad that he screwed up our door, and then made my husband (who had just gotten done with a nice weekend of construction and had to go to work the next day) go buy another lock assembly. We should have known that the poor burglar was a victim.
      These politicians need brain transplants!


  6. Also, the “lawmaker” in question has a very wide mouth, something I’ve noticed correlates with leftist lunacy.

    He may also have “gay lip”. I’m going to have to look into this more.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So, how often do we hear about a cop,or a store clerk being shot by a person, with a long criminal history, who is out on bail,.?

    My thoughts are that, persons arrested for, non-violent crimes should not be locked up prior to trail,..& on the other hand, persons arrested for violent crimes, should NOT be let out on bail of any amount..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that’s great, even when the cops do show up (they only seem to around here for murders or suicides), then the scum bag criminal who’s already stole your stuff is going to be back home in their trailer waiting for you to go to work so they can break in again and get the stuff they missed the first time. Yeah, great idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It seems to me that bond is generally set according to the severity of the crime and the past criminal record of the accused and I think the article discusses this. It also seems to me that there may be more to the story of David Howell (the former CA Highway patrol officer described above) than we’re being told. Why would it take three requests to the judge to have his bail amount lowered? Were Howell’s offenses more serious than this article is disclosing, since it took 39 days and 3 requests? Was the judge trying to profit from a ‘good mark’ when he saw one? Did it take 39 days for Howell to call in favors, give the appropriate handshake and get this judge off his back? Was their bad blood between the two from when Howell was a CHiP? Whichever the case, the bail was adjusted down from $200,000. to $15,000. That is quite a difference, and thus, it raises my suspicion. So, in effect, the Howell story is telling us that the current system isn’t as punishing as Sen. Bob Hertzberg and Assemblyman Ron Bonta may wish to make us think since the bail was eventually lowered.

    It’s come out in recent years that there is a lot of money to be made via the privatization of the penal system. If the median bail amount in CA is $50,000 and that is five times higher than the national median bail amount in the majority of the states, then to my mind, that indicates either someone or some entity is making an inordinate amount of money from these bail amounts or that on average, CA has more people committing more felonies or more serious classes of misdemeanor crimes.

    And Bonta’s quote, “We’re punishing people simply for being poor” is naked pandering to his constituency. Perhaps someone should suggest legislation that sets a low-to-high range of bail amounts for each felony and misdemeanor classification and limit the latitude judges have in setting bail?

    The Sacramento Bee article mentioned how the Washington District of Criminals handles bail. This is the link to the WaPo article contained in the SacBee article:

    According to the Wash. D.C. Dept of Corrections, for every 100 arrests, 90 people are let out (pretrial) with no bond posted. Of those 90 people, 11 will be rearrested (before trial), 2 of those 11 will be arrested for violent crimes.

    I wonder if Alefantis and his crew would be let out on their own recognizance? Of course, that would mean that they’d actually been arrested.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes I am sure whomever has the restraining order against this guy that he violated with a gun in his possession is thrilled he got out on bail. Its probably an ex-wife/girlfriend-those victims who get murdered all the time by wackos they have restraining orders against.
    The lunacy of these people never ceases to amaze me. The punishment should fit the crime, including bail.
    Hey I have a thought…If you are poor and cannot afford to post bail do not commit any crimes that get you arrested!
    The biggest thing this article misses is that the CA jails are full of illegal’s that commit crimes and can’t post bail. The gang members and drug dealers that are in jails are off the charts.
    In San Diego they arrested a whole gang some-12 members for kidnaping and murder, go figure. Wonder if they were part of the DACA program?
    Bringing that up wouldn’t fit their agenda.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. People of color and low income people are turning their lives around and becoming Rhodes scholars on a daily basis! California realizes this and does not want to hamper the abundance of brain surgeons and theoretic physicists about to burst on the scene any day now!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. No Money ~No bail? Due to “insufficient” govmnt funding & our “poor” society. WOW, Would some “IMPORTANT” official, somewhere, please notify other POOR state officials & tell them to JUST !STOP! piling on every late fee due to us LOW INCOME folks who also struggle daily to make ends meet! Screw the “NO MORE BAIL” & TAKE AWAY LATE FEES FOR RENT & UTILITIES! What do you think past students would say to this as their Student Loan DEBT COLLECTORS are harassing them? And single parent families who are stressed about even answering the ✆phone due to the same problems? Who needs to STOP BEING PUNISHED FIRST???

    Liked by 1 person

  12. More proof that California Demoncrat politicians are pro-criminal. They put criminals back on the streets before they serve their sentences and then pass laws that make it difficult for decent honest citizens to defend themselves against the criminals!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sounds like the assemblyman’s family as well as most likely him have a long record of committing crimes. This seems to be a cheap way for his family to bypass the rules and laws.
    Poor or not, do not commit crimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ok, so “we’re punishing people for being poor”…and not for committing a crime? So WHY BOTHER EVEN ARRESTING THEM?? Just say, “OH, that’s OK, even though you broke into another poor persons apartment and stole all their valuables…we won’t make you post bail because YOU ARE POOR. This shows that these politicians are MENTALLY INSANE.

    Ha ha, now THAT looks like a politician that would never lie. NOT.
    He looks like a greasy used car salesman. That’s where you get the definition ‘sh*t eating grin’ from.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. “California… tumbled into the sea…” if only.

    Jail is actually where those awaiting trial in most cities/counties stay until convicted, at which point they get moved to state/federal prison. So not unusual, just used here as propaganda to free those so involved.
    As for being rich v. poor, if you can’t afford a cheesy lawyer/bondsman to get you out before trial, don’t do the crime. And then pray you don’t get fingered for something you didn’t do, or get framed by somebody who doesn’t like you. Allegations can put the wrong person behind bars, as can lazy folks in blue trying to make a quick/easy collar and go home. But by and large, those in jail have usually done something to get there.
    I’ve been in jail for a wrongful arrest and it wasn’t pretty, but it also wasn’t dangerous. Just unpleasant for the hour or two I was held until my personal data checked out and they released me… and I came back with an attorney to make things rightier. And then a second to recover my legal fees spent on the first. So maybe there is something to the rich v poor thing, but it only cost me $500 and my dignity (and the day with my family the rogue cop cost me; the city reimbursed me the legal bill).
    “Don’t fight a cop with a gun & badge” would be my advice to anyone so “arrested”, whether rightly or not. Comply, then fight later within the bounds set by the legal system. And again, that assumes all are able to, and that all are treated with a modicum of respect…
    For those concerned, you can “buy” legal “insurance” for like $20/mo for quick and reasonable legal representation incl. a written will etc.; I used Signature at the time. I believe they’re now Hyatt Legal Plans.


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