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‘Zero Bail’ Goes Into Effect In LA County and City

The people of California voted on it, rejected it, yet lawmakers and judges in this state keep pushing for it against the will of the people

By Evan Symon, May 25, 2023 5:30 am

The city and county of Los Angeles resumed ‘zero bail’, or the action of not having those with low level, non-violent crimes pay cash bail in order to be released before an arraignment, on Wednesday, following a preliminary injunction ruling made last week by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.

Bail has been a hot button issue in California for the last several years. Zero bail was outright rejected by state voters in 2020, but has continuously been brought back up in the legislature since. The California Supreme Court has also wrestled with the issue. However, a focal point on zero bail has been Los Angeles. Like other cities and counties, including San Francisco, LA has gone back and forth on zero bail over the last few years. There has been total cash bail, no cash bail except for serious offenses, and middle of the ground approaches based on if suspects can pay and what impact it would have on them.

The last option in particular  has been scrutinized due to opponents of cash bail saying that lower-income criminals could miss work and other important duties and events as a result, while proponents say that the policy only brings criminals back out onto the the street. While data has shown that zero bail usually result in more crime, opponents have also brought lawsuits against cash bail policies due to certain instances. A lawsuit filed in LA County earlier this year by six criminals who said they missed work and went without prescription medication for several days due to not being able to afford bail was ruled on last week.

According to the suit, “Being jailed for even short periods of time may cause them to lose their jobs, their housing, or custody of their children. They suffer all the harms of confinement in a jail cell even though a large portion of them will never be formally charged with any crime, let alone convicted.”

Zero bail in LA

The suit, Urquidi v. City of Los Angeles, wound up favoring cash bail opponents. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff found that cash bail was a constitutional violation when it directly went against lower-income people from being able to pay.

“Enforcing the secured money bail schedules against poor people who are detained in jail solely for the reason of their poverty is a clear, pervasive, and serious constitutional violation,” Judge Riff said last week. “Evidence shows the preliminary injunction will reduce the incidence of new criminal activity and failures to appear for future court proceedings.”

“The plaintiffs produced a vast amount of evidence via expert witnesses and over a dozen academic studies, which decisively showed that money bail regimes are associated with increased crime and increased failures to appear as compared with unsecured bail or release on non-financial conditions. Evidence demonstrates that secured money bail, as now utilized in Los Angeles County, is itself ‘criminogenic’ — that is, secured money bail causes more crime than would be the case were the money bail schedules no longer enforced.”

As a result, the new policy went into effect on Wednesday and is expected to stay in place for the next 60 days to allow LA to construct new plans for enforcement around the zero bail system, such as pre-trial supervision and monitoring in lieu of a cash bail being held above them to meet their court date. Both the city and County of LA will also need to file a report of what they will do to follow the new zero bail system by July 5th, with a feasibility hearing on them to be heard on July 10th.

However, opponents have said that they would fight back against the policy, especially if crime rises as a result of the new policy.

“This isn’t over,” explained Manuel Esposito, a bail business consultant who has helped many bail companies stay afloat, to the Globe on Wednesday. “This can be appealed, this can be challenged again, this can be reversed. There are a ton of options right now. Hell, they can fail the feasibility hearing and the whole zero bail experiment can be dropped.

“The fact of the matter is that the people of California voted on it, rejected it, yet lawmakers and judges in this state keep pushing for it against the will of the people. This LA ruling is another instance of it, but hopefully one that can be reversed. Zero bail has been released before.”

A report on the new bail system in LA is due on July 5th.

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5 thoughts on “‘Zero Bail’ Goes Into Effect In LA County and City

  1. Once AGAIN, the People of California are put in the position of having to ask themselves – “Why on earth are our state and local Dem/Marxist politicians SO DETERMINED to ensure that as many Californians as possible are murdered, killed, or otherwise made victims of violent crime?”

    Just exactly how many blood-curdling headlines do we have to see where a horrendous crime was committed by a career criminal suspect who was released on ‘zero bail?’

    How many times have Californians voted to RETAIN the privately-run bail process, an ingenious system that holds suspects accountable and makes sure they show up in court?

    Last year the odious outgoing Sen Bob Hertzberg’s final act as a state legislator was an attempt to deep-six the bail system (SB 262), but on Aug 31, in a dramatic up-to-midnight last-day vote, the people rose up and protested the attempt and the bill FAILED. This rarely, if EVER, happens. Does the current state law surpass and blot out local official and judicial whim or does it not? When the hell is this unacceptable nonsense going to end?

    “CA Legislature is Adjourned: What Bills Passed? What Failed?” – September 1, 2022

    “Zero bail bill fails: By Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Senate Bill 262, is ironically named the “Safe and Resilient Communities Act.”

    Measure fails. When I talked to @hertzieLA earlier, he said that he wished he had gut/amended another bill because SB 262 had “B.O.,” meaning lawmakers couldn’t get past its prior “zero bail” ambitions even after he changed it to be much narrower. https://t.co/hUveWYNyaX pic.twitter.com/yao7HR5UL9

    — Hannah Wiley (@hannahcwiley) September 1, 2022

    ‘Without Surety Bail in CA the Defendants in custody will only have CASH BAIL or remain in custody as their choices. Who has $50k in Cash for a Felony Domestic Violence charge?’ one bail agent told the Globe.”

  2. As the article noted, California voters have rejected zero bail yet Democrat lawmakers and judges keep pushing for it against the will of the people. Is there any more proof that voting in California no longer matters and that California is being controlled by a criminal gang of Marxists?

  3. Real word evidence has proven that zero bail policies lead to more crime due to revolving door criminality where a handful of criminals end up comminating majority of the crimes and increase their criminal activity once they know there are no real consequences for doing so. Then over time, even more criminals realize this and so the handful becomes a flood. Just look at New York City which tried this and found out it was a terrible idea…or San Francisco even where voters recalled their DA who implemented these policies. This activist Judge has only worsened the already out of control crime situation in LA. Well, just one more reason to avoid that city and county like the plague.

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