The controversial policy to remove bail requirements for some offenders was put back in place for the city and county of Los Angeles, ABC7 reported.
A judge granted a preliminary injunction in a class action lawsuit that reimplements the policy and prohibits the Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department from requiring cash bail for some offenders who have been arrested.
Typically, if bail cannot be paid, the accused is forced to wait in a jail before arraignment.
Reports have indicated that the L.A. County Sheriff’s department has said that the no-bail policy only applies to those arrested for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Bail policy for sex offenders, domestic violence, and offenses involving a weapon still stands.
However, repeat offenders can still be released without bail, but can be made subject to a cash payment.
“We’re supposed to have a presumption of innocence in this country. It’s not much of a presumption of innocence when you’re in a jail cell,” said Salil Dudani, the lead attorney in the class action lawsuit. “So, for example: vandalism. That’s a charge several of our clients were arrested on. That’s a $20,000 bail amount. And if the officer claims you committed vandalism, that’ll be your bail amount for 2-5 days without any lawyer or judge looking at this,” Dudani added.
Earlier in May 2023, the California state reparations task force recommended the end to cash bail due to racism and potential “trauma.”
“The cash bail system is at the core of many of the class and race-based inequities in the criminal legal system,” the task force wrote in its proposal draft. “The task force accordingly recommends that the legislature take all steps necessary to definitively end cash bail.”
“Pretrial detention can last months and even years, during which incarcerated individuals suffer countless harms including deteriorating mental and physical health, risk of sexual violence, and lasting trauma,” the proposal added.
The task force also claimed there have been disparities between white and black arrestees regarding the chances of being detained before trial and stated that “black defendants are 10 to 25 percent more likely to be detained pretrial or to face financial conditions upon release, and median bond amounts are at least 10 percent more (and potentially as high as double the amount) for black defendants than for white defendants.”
No comparisons of the frequency or types of crimes were given.
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