Last week, the First District Court of Appeal of California declared current bail setting practices unconstitutional. In its ruling, the court states that legislation is, ?desperately needed? and mentions SB 10, the California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017 authored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Asm. Rob Bonta (DOakland).
Specifically, the San Francisco court declared it is a violation of 14th Amendment due process rights to detain defendants before being convicted without protections. The court also emphasized the need for courts to consider non-financial alternatives to money bail that can effectively assure both court appearance and public safety. The risk assessment tool proposed in SB 10 is such an alternative, and would protect public safety without holding defendants simply because they cannot afford bail.
In response to the court ruling, Sen. Hertzberg released the following statement:
Simply put, the current bail system is unconstitutional. That belief is what got me involved in bail reform in the first place. I am encouraged that the Court has joined our Chief Justice in recognizing that the current system? is not based on flight risk or risk to public safety, but on how much you can pay. The decision highlights the urgent need for systemic reform at the statewide level.?
SB 10 is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it awaits its next hearing.