A Federal Judge in San Francisco has just come down with a ruling that may completely upend the bail system across the United States. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers stated in her ruling that the two lead plaintiffs were significantly deprived of their right to freedom after languishing in jail for over 24 hours.
This ruling challenges the money bail system our country has come to see as a necessary part of the judicial system and that many have begun to see as an unfair burden on the nation’s poor. The bail system has been an easy get out of jail card for those with money but deprives the poverty stricken with a disadvantage they literally can’t afford.
In the ruling Judge Gonzales stated that:
The bail schedule, by contrast, is arbitrary in that it sets amounts without regard to any objective measurement and thus bears no relation to the government’s interests in enhancing public safety and ensuring court appearance.
The contrasting option is the pre-trial risk assessment tool that has been put into place by California’s Senate Bill 10 which Governor Jerry Brown last year. The bill will effectively outlaw money bail options across the state, and is something that many other states have already put into place, or are considering. However, there is a referendum that seeks to overturn the law coming up in November of 2020.