Governor Brown Signs Money Bail Reform Act

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” said Governor Brown in a statement.

On Tuesday, August 28th, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 10 (SB10) also known as the California Money Bail Reform Act. The new law – which will take effect on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 – eliminates the current cash bail system. Under the new system, an assessment of risk to public safety and probability of missing a court date will be used to determine a defendant’s custody status while they await trial rather than their ability to post bail.

Governor Brown signs California Money Bail Reform Act.

Governor Brown signs SB 10. Left to right: Assembly Speaker Rendon, Senate President pro Tempore Atkins, Governor Brown (seated), Senator Hertzberg, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Assemblymember Bonta. (PHOTO: Ryan Grant/ California Department of Tax and Fee Administration)

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” said Governor Brown in a statement.

The bill was co-authored by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda). On Monday, August 20th, the Assembly passed the bill 42-31 with seven abstaining. The following day, the Senate voted 26-12 to pass the bill with two not voting.

“This is a transformative day for our justice system. Our old system of money bail was outdated, unsafe, and unfair. It took a three-branch solution with Governor Brown, the Legislature led by Senator Hertzberg and Assemblymember Bonta, and the Judicial Council’s Administrative Director Martin Hoshino working with judges in my Pretrial Detention Reform Work Group to bring about a fair and just solution for all Californians,” said Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

Bail bond establishments

A strip mall of bail bond establishments located on North Vignes Street opposite the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles (PHOTO: Robert Wheaton, CaribPress)

As expected, the bail bond industry is not happy with the bill:

“The law will put tens of thousands of criminals back on the streets,” said Jeffrey Stanley, owner of Bad Boy Bail Bonds, to the Los Angeles Times. “I think it was irresponsible of the legislature to pass this bill.”

Quentin L. Kopp, a retired Superior Court Judge, wrote an Op-Ed in the San Francisco Examiner last year in which he described SB10 as “one of the most dangerous and misleading legislative efforts I’ve seen in more than 50 years as a criminal and civil trial lawyer and 10 years as a California Superior Court judge. ”

Opponents of the bill are behind a referendum drive to prevent the law from taking effect. If they are able to obtain the required 366,000 signatures within three months, it will prevent the law from taking effect on schedule. If they succeed, the referendum would go to the voters on the 2020 ballot.

For full text of the bill, visit California Legislative Info.

Leave a Reply