Home California California Zero Bail Reform Bill Fails in State Assembly

California Zero Bail Reform Bill Fails in State Assembly

by ECT

On Wednesday, even after scaling back a zero-bail bill, it could not muster the votes needed to pass out of the State Assembly. The bill would have reformed the states cash bail system.

Needing 41 votes to pass, SB 262 came up 9 votes short in the State Assembly with 32 in support and 29 against—29 assemblymembers failed to even cast a vote.  Locally, Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Buffy Wicks supported the bill while Tim Grayson failed to cast a vote.

Zero Bail was rejected by California voters in 2020 (56% in support) but introduced as legislation by Senator Bob Herzberg in January 2021 –labeled as “Safe and Resilient Communities Act.”

The bill was pulled back in September of 2021 after a murder of a Sacramento female by parolee who had been released without bail, it prompted Hertzberg, to pull SB 262 from consideration.  He vowed to bring the bill back at some point.

According to the bill, it would have required the state courts to take into account a defendants ability to pay when setting a bail.

This bill would instead require the Judicial Council to, starting January 1, 2023, prepare, adopt, and annually revise a statewide bail schedule. The bill would require the Judicial Council, when adopting that schedule, to consider the seriousness of the offense charged and input from stakeholders, experts, and other interested parties. The bill would require the court, prior to setting bail, to consider whether nonfinancial conditions will reasonably protect the public and the victim and reasonably assure the arrestee’s presence at trial. The bill would, if the court concludes that money bail is necessary, require the court to conduct an inquiry into the arrestee’s ability to pay, as specified. The bill would prohibit costs relating to conditions of release on bail from being imposed on persons released on bail or on their own recognizance.

Although the bill passed the State Senate in May with a 30-9 vote, it was having trouble in the State Assembly according to Hertzberg.

With the return of the Bill, Hertzberg did make some amendments which now takes aim at the bail bond industry which some people around the state have referred to this bill as the “how much money you have on you bill” or “the right to an affordable bail”. They have also accused Hertzberg of creating a bill to let criminals out of jail.

According to the amendments:

This bill would prohibit costs relating to the conditions of release on bail from being imposed on persons released on bail or on their own recognizance. The bill would additionally require the court to order a return of money or property paid to a bail bond licensee by or on behalf of the arrestee to obtain bail if the action or proceeding against the arrestee who has been admitted to bail is dismissed, dismissed or no charges are filed against the arrestee within 60 days of arrest, or the arrestee has made all court appearances during the pendency of the action or proceeding against the arrestee, as specified. The bill would authorize the bail bond licensee to retain a surcharge not to exceed 5% 10% of the amount paid by the arrestee or on behalf of the arrestee. The bill would require the court to order this return of money or property only for a bail contract entered into on or after January 1, 2022. 2023.

The District Attorney for Yolo County issued the following press release:

70% of Those Released on $0 Bail Commit New Crimes

Nearly 30% rearrested for Violent Crimes – including murder

(Woodland, CA) – August 22, 2022 – In April of 2020, in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the California Judicial Council imposed a statewide Emergency Bail Schedule, also known as $0 Bail. Shortly thereafter, the Yolo County District Attorney began tracking the individuals released on $0 bail and rearrested within Yolo County. Despite the Judicial Council rescinding its order in June of 2020, a number of California counties opted to keep the emergency bail schedule in effect, including Yolo. On June 1, 2021 the Yolo County Superior Court enacted a new bail schedule, effectively ending $0 bail.

In June of this year, in an effort to provide some transparency on the $0 bail policies and associated data, and to better inform ongoing legislative discussions on the issue, the Yolo County District Attorney’s office conducted an analysis of $0 bail and rearrests. Recent criminal histories of the 595 individuals released on $0 bail in Yolo County were reviewed for any new arrests in the state of California. Of the 595 individuals released, 420 were rearrested (70.6%) and 123 (20% of the overall number or 29% of those rearrested) were arrested for a crime of violence. The crimes of violence included murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, and domestic violence.

One individual released on $0 bail in Yolo County was charged with murder in Sacramento County for a shooting that occurred in Old Sacramento in July of 2021.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated: “When over 70% of the people released under mandated $0 bail policies go on to commit additional crime(s), including violent offenses such as robbery and murder, there is simply no rational public safety-related basis to continue such a practice post-pandemic, especially in light of the increasing violent crime rates across California.”

The full-report may be viewed here: https://yoloda.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Emergency-Bail-Analysis.pdf

You may also like

1 comment

Frank Sep 2, 2022 - 6:56 am

Holy Toledo!!! A moment of clarity at the state level.

Comments are closed.