A few years back, California voters made their voices heard when it comes to bail reform. SB 10, a bill that would eliminate cash bail and instead let a computer algorithm decide who does, and does not, get out of jail before their trial was nearly the law of the land in California. However, thanks to voters overwhelmingly supporting Prop 25, SB 10 was officially dead.
Now, the California State Legislature is at it again in the form of SB262. The bill effectively sets bail at $0 for misdemeanors and low-level felonies statewide. If it passes, those who are arrested on suspicion of these charges would simply be cited and released instead of held in jail.
SB262 is an extension of what we’ve already experienced during the pandemic. In an effort to stem the spread of the Corona Virus, emergency orders were put in place to set bail at $0 for misdemeanors and low-level felonies. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out all that well. Offenders who were arrested were let back out onto the streets where they were free to continue committing crimes – and many of them did! Some notable cases involved suspects who were arrested, cited, and released multiple times on the same day.
Victims advocates, the District Attorneys Association, and the Bail Industry are set against the passage of SB262. It fails to take into account the safety of our communities, instead focusing on a political win.
Despite the fact that residents voted to keep the current bail system intact as-is, the legislature is moving ahead with a continued assault on bail. They want to put in place a system that can be exploited by career criminals to continue offending even after they’ve been arrested.
The California Supreme Court has already ruled on bail reform and have upheld the status quo. Yet the legislature continues to flout the will of the people and attempt to sabotage the bail system in order to make it easier for serious criminals with significant pretrial misconduct.