California Supreme Court Ends Cash Bail for Some Who Cannot Afford to Pay

From the Brennan Center
 
On March 25, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that courts may not jail people charged with a crime in pre-trial detention solely because they cannot afford to pay bail.
 
“The common practice of conditioning freedom solely on whether an arrestee can afford bail is unconstitutional,” the justices said. Instead, “the court must consider the arrestee’s ability to pay the stated amount of bail—and may not effectively detain the arrestee ‘solely because’ the arrestee ‘lacked the resources’ to post bail.”
 
The court’s decision was made in the case of Kenneth Humphrey, who was accused of stealing $7 and a bottle of cologne from his neighbor in 2017. His bail was initially set at $600,000, though it was later reduced to $350,000. The decision also comes just a few months after California voters rejectedProposition 25, which would have entirely ended the use of cash bail and required statewide use of controversial risk assessment tools.

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