After last week’s election, criminal justice reform efforts in California continue.
Steven Greenhut writes:
When the legislature reconvenes in December, some legislators will almost certainly introduce bills that would reform the state’s system of “money bail.” It’s part of a nationwide reform movement headed by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
Many are unfamiliar with the system by which criminal defendants post a bond that allows them to avoid jail time as their case winds its way through the system. A judge will set a bail amount that reflects the severity of the alleged crime and the defendant’s perceived flight risk. The defendant can post the full amount, which would be forfeited if he or she doesn’t show up at the appointed court date. Those who lack the resources also can go to a bail bonds company and pay a nonrefundable percentage (commonly 10 percent) of the bail. The bail bondsman posts the full amount and assumes liability to assure the defendant shows up for trial.