June 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

A Problem For Needed Bail System Changes

By Thomas D. Elias

There are plenty of problems with the kind of one-party government California now has, with every statewide office in the hands of Democrats, who also hold two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature.

 It’s easier to pass taxes this way and budget discipline can be hard to find, to name just two. But the one-party dominance also allows for addressing some rank injustices after they’ve spent years as festering societal wounds.

 Cash bail is one of those. Get arrested, whether you’re guilty of a crime or not, and there’s a good chance you’ll have to put up thousands of dollars in cash, real estate or other valuables to avoid spending many months in jail. One springtime report from the non-profit Human Rights Watch found that 459,847 persons were jailed in California for felony offenses between 2011 and 2015 – but never found guilty of any crime. They accounted for just under one-third of all arrests during that time and it cost California counties an average of $114 per day to keep them in custody, a total of more than $1 billion.

 While a large majority of arrests were for good cause, hundreds of thousands were detained for days, weeks or months without good reason.

 The average bail set in those cases approximated $50,000, with variances by county and by the type of crime involved. For many persons unable to come up with such a sum, bail bond agents are an answer. The agents often put up 10 percent of the bail amount for an accused person, and are responsible for the rest if the suspect jumps bail or does not turn up for scheduled court dates.

 The accused (or friends and relatives) must pay that 10 percent, or $5,000 when bail is set at the typical $50,000. That money is not returned.

 “With a lot of low income families, $500 can be a lot to come up with – so $5,000?” San Francisco City and County Treasurer Jose Cisneros told a reporter. “Particularly $5,000 they are never going to see again.” That’s why many prisoners don’t make bail and languish for months before trial.

 This, in turn, can cause them to lose jobs and see their children put into foster case, often for months or years after their eventual release.

 So bail can be a punishment just for being poor. That reality got little attention in Sacramento until this year, but now Democratic state Sen. Robert Herzberg of Los Angeles (a former state Assembly speaker) and Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Alameda, another Democrat, want to rectify the frequent injustices.

 A Bonta reform measure died in the Assembly in June, but Hertzberg’s virtually identical bill to ease bail passed the Senate. Now making its way through various Assembly committees, it’s an attempt to ensure no one now jailed and awaiting trial is held merely because of finances.

 Counties would have to set up an evaluation system to make sure no one gets an “own-recognition” release if there’s any threat to the community or any flight risk. There’s an apparent consensus that prior criminal records will have to be considered. But no cost figure is yet attached to the new bureaucracy that would result.

 Said the normally ultra-liberal San Diego Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, “I don’t see how this works without spending a lot of money.”

 So, like the single-payer health insurance bill that passed the Senate earlier this year only to die in the Assembly for lack of financial details, this equally humanitarian effort at equalizing bail treatment for all suspects leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

 No one now questions the essential inequality of today’s bail setup, where the wealthy usually walk free while most poor suspects stay in jail. But no one also doubts the assertion of the Golden State Bail Agents Assn. that reform would see “the mass release of defendants.”

 For sure, any fix for this flawed system will see plenty of would-be defendants freed. The trick will be to make sure as many of the newly-freed as possible are among the one-third of all arrestees who will never be convicted of anything. Sadly, no one right now knows how to make those judgments.

Jail

Related Posts

Violence Erupts at Protest Outside Adas Torah Synagogue in Pico Robertson

June 24, 2024

June 24, 2024

Seven Reporters Attacked, Protesters Bear Sprayed, Chaos in West LA Violence broke out at a protest at the Adas Torah...

Fantastic Fireworks Celebrations in Los Angeles for July 4th

June 24, 2024

June 24, 2024

Find the Best 4th of July Displays and Parades on This List Culver City Fireworks Show: The Exchange Club of...

Two Killed, Two Injured in Early Morning Crash Near Los Angeles International Airport

June 24, 2024

June 24, 2024

Vehicle Overturns After Flying Off 105 Freeway Ramp in El Segundo Two people were killed and two others injured in...

Teen Fatally Stabbed at First Annual Palms Community Weekend Festival on Saturday

June 23, 2024

June 23, 2024

LAPD Investigates Tragic Incident at Event Organized by LAPD Pacific Area Boosters By Dolores Quintana Tragedy struck at the first...

UCLA Film Archive Celebrates Iranian Cinema’s Resilience and Creativity

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Explore New Voices at the Film Archive’s Billy Wilder Theater. The UCLA Film & Television Archive continues its dedication to...

(Video) Sport Fishing and Whale Watching on the Pacific Offered by MDR Sportfishing

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Located Out of Marina del Rey, More Information Can Be Found at mdrsf.com @centurycitywestwoodnews Operating out of Marina del Rey,...

LA County Issues Ocean Water Use Warning for Several Beaches on the First Day of Summer

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Elevated Bacterial Levels Prompt Health Advisory for Popular Coastal Spots Sadly, on the first day of Summer, the Los Angeles...

California Supreme Court Blocks Tax Measure from November Ballot

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Ruling Halts Effort to Overturn Measure ULA In a ruling issued on Thursday, the California Supreme Court blocked the Taxpayer...

(Video) Director Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin Q&A On Their New Film The Exorcism

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

It stars Russell Crowe, Sam Worthington, and David Hyde-Peirce. @centurycitywestwoodnews Director Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin Q&A On Their...

Westfield Century City Announces First Annual Foodie Week Starting Today

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Deals and Prix-Fixe Menus Available From June 20th to June 27th Westfield Century City, a premier outdoor shopping destination in...

Los Angeles Public Health Warns of Surge in Mpox Cases Reported in Los Angeles County

June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

Public Health Officials Urge Testing, Prevention, and Vaccination Amid Recent Spike The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is...

Pedestrian Fatally Struck While Crossing the 405 Freeway in Brentwood

June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

Victim Hit While Crossing Southbound Lanes; Investigation Underway A pedestrian was fatally struck by a vehicle on the I-405 southbound...

Brentwood, Palisades, West LA Libraries Closures for Juneteenth

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Upcoming Program and Event Schedules for The Week  Brentwood Library Schedule: We are celebrating Juneteenth this Wednesday, June 19! The...

LAUSD Board Approves Cell Phone Ban for District Schools

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Resolution Aims to Be Effective by January 2025 The LAUSD board voted 5-2 on Tuesday to pass a resolution authored...

Gunfire Incident at Westchester Park Leads to Arrest, Prompts Community Meeting

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

LAPD Pursues Suspect After Shots Fired, Councilmember Responds An LAPD spokesperson confirmed that a disturbing incident took place at Westchester...