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California Makes Strides in Criminal Justice Reform with Bail Legislation

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that California has been getting quite a bit of attention due to their latest movements in the area of criminal justice reform. California is currently on the forefront of making crucial changes to the criminal justice system, with both sides being equally vocal about their thoughts on the direction that the state is heading towards.

As midterm elections approach, the debate over criminal justice reform is heating up. Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening with reform in California and how it will potentially affect the lives of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.

Governor Brown Signs Bill to Abolish Cash Bail

Governor Jerry Brown finally had the chance to sign a bill that he put into motion nearly four decades ago. When he first introduced the topic to the state’s Legislature, he made the argument that the cash bail system was a tax against the poor. Fast forward to this past August when the Governor was finally able to sign the bill in response to the state court determining the old cash bail system was an unconstitutional denial of due process.

While the nation is currently experiencing a lot of movement in criminal justice reform, this one action puts California on the map as the forerunner in restructuring the criminal justice system. The new bail reform bill focuses on the practice of requiring those in the criminal system to pay the courts in order to remain out of jail for the period of time before their trial, which in some cases can last months or even years. Proponents of the bill state that the current bail system unfairly targets the financially disadvantaged.

While California is among the early pioneers to adopt bail reform, it’s not the first. A similar initiative was enacted last year in New Jersey, where a 17% drop in overall county jail population has been reported since it went into effect.

ACLU Stands Behind California Bail Reform but Express Concern

The American Civil Liberties Union has long been a proponent of bail reform across the nation. The unfortunate fact is that minorities are among the individuals who have been the most affected by the cash bails system. While the ACLU fully supports bail reform, they have expressed concerns about how the reform bill in California may have the opposite of the intended effect.

Their concerns center around the issue that the bill gives judges too much discretion in the process of deciding who will and won’t be detained or provided with the possibility of release. There is worry that the assessment tools used by judges will still unfairly target certain individuals and potentially spike the current state jail population.

If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important that you understand what this new legislation means for you and your future. We’re the experienced defense team for the Los Angeles area that will help you understand California’s bail reform and prepare a winning defense for your case. Contact Elden Law today for a free consultation.


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