Change is in the air. It appears that the bail system is going to be changed. This is going to be a huge change for all of us, especially us in the criminal defense world.
A little history of bail
Originally, money bail was developed in the Anglo-Saxon period in England (410-1066) as a means of settling disputes peacefully. The accused was required to find someone to serve as their surety who agreed to pay the settled amount to the victim if the defendant fled. No money was actually required to be released; a defendant just had to show they would be able to pay the settlement if needed. “The Anglo-Saxon bail process was perhaps the last entirely rational application of bail.”
For hundreds of years, friends and families served as sureties for those accused of crime. Around the 1900s, this started to change. In England as well as the United States, industrialization led to more people on the move. No longer was it as easy for people to find relatives to act as sureties, and there were even more opportunities for people to skip town rather than stick around for a verdict. In 1898, England passed the Bail Act to dispense with sureties and to find more effective methods of ensuring court appearance and preventing new crimes. The U.S. went in the opposite direction. That same year, the first commercial bondsmen started up shop in San Francisco, and the lucrative business quickly caught on across the country.
By this time, most courts required money bail amounts to be paid in-full as a condition of release. Unable to finance the full amount at one time, more and more people turned to commercial bondsmen to put up their bail amount. Bondsmen in turn expected full repayment with interest. As courts increased the use of money bail for release and the amount required for release, people relied more heavily on commercial bondsmen. It did not take long to see the gross inequalities between who was able to afford release and who was not. No longer was release a question of probable guilt and future appearance in court, instead it became only a question of money.
As Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit Court stated in 1963, “Certainly the professional bondsman system…is odious at best. The effect of such a system is that the professional bondsmen hold the keys to the jail in their pockets…The court and the commissioner are relegated to the relatively unimportant chore of fixing the amount of bail.”
Guided by a desire to turn profits, rather than ensure public safety or justice, the abuse of this system became both pervasive and well-known. And those who were most seriously affected were those already disproportionately represented in the system; the impoverished and people of color.
San Diego DUIs
So, there will not be bail….bit is that going to be good?
Are they going to get people on ankle monitors in lieu of bail? Are people going to go AA meetings while waiting for court? There is going to be big decisions that is oing to change the whole San Diego DUI process. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now at (858) 751-4384 to get the ball rolling.
Here is the article about the change in Bail__________________________
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed sweeping legislation to eliminate cash bail in California. The change, which will take effect in October 2019, goes further than any other state in the country to remove money from pretrial detention.
“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Brown said in a statement.
Under Senate Bill 10, California will replace bail with “risk assessments” of individuals and non-monetary conditions of release. Counties will establish local agencies to evaluate any individual arrested on felony charges for their likelihood of returning for court hearings and their chances of re-arrest.
A person whose risk to public safety and risk of failure to appear is determined to be “low” would be released with the least restrictive non-monetary conditions possible. “Medium-risk” individuals could be released or held depending on local standards. “High-risk” individuals would remain in custody until their arraignment, as would anyone who has committed certain sex crimes or violent felonies, is arrested for driving under the influence for the third time in less than 10 years, is already under supervision by the courts or has violated any conditions of pretrial release in the previous five years
Advocates of abolishing bail contend that too many defendants remain stuck in custody because they cannot afford to bail out, effectively creating unequal justice based on wealth. Nearly two-thirds of inmates in California jails are being held awaiting trial.
California is at the forefront of a national campaign to end money bail that has also recently seen states like New Jersey and New Mexico adopt polices to circumvent the for-profit bail industry, though none had yet eliminated bail completely.
SB 10 was approved by the Legislature last week, after a nearly two-year push, with largely Democratic support. But it faced heavy opposition from the bail industry and some former supporters of the bill, who said significant amendments to the final version would unjustly expand the number of suspects in pretrial detention.
The American Civil Liberties Union of California, an original co-sponsor of the measure, and other organizations pointed to provisions giving judges greater discretion during the arraignment hearing to decide whether to release an individual and on what conditions. SB 10 also introduces a process for the prosecution to file for “preventive detention,” blocking the defendant’s release pending a trial, if they believe there are no conditions that would ensure public safety or their appearance in court.
Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, a senior strategist with the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice, said California’s approach was not an improvement on the old system and sent a signal to advocates across the country to move ahead cautiously. The organization is involved with bail overhaul efforts in more than 30 other states.
Eliminating bail is as much about reducing the jail population and addressing racial disparities in criminal justice as it is about financial concerns, Dooley-Sammuli said. In negotiating a compromise with Brown and the California judiciary, she said, the authors of SB 10 abandoned those principles.
“We know that where racial disparities are worst is wherever there is discretion,” she said. “That this is the best deal California could figure out is a big concern.”
David Quintana, a lobbyist for the California Bail Agents Association, said the industry is already mobilizing to block the new law from taking effect, though he declined to discuss the specifics.
“You don’t eliminate an industry and expect those people to go down quietly,” he said. “Every single weapon in our a
rsenal will be fired.