Politics

California Is Holding Off on Abandoning Cash Bail

A California law eliminating cash bail, signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown in August, has now been put on hold, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The law was scheduled to take effect in October of this year. Instead, voters will weigh in on it via a referendum on the state’s 2020 ballot; the law will only go into effect if it is approved by voters.

The legislation would replace money bail with “risk assessment strategies” that courts could use to assess the merits of imprisoning a defendant before trial.

The three executive directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California issued a joint statement, in which they said the bail industry “hurts families” and is “antithetical to our values of justice, fairness, and racial equity.”

But the law is controversial. While the ACLU of Northern California and other advocacy groups take issue with the cash bail system, they also opposed the law due to concerns about the amount of power it would grant judges. As Pacific Standard reported in August:


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