In California, where bail reform has been most aggressive with the passage of SB10, the bail bonds industry is fighting back with aplomb. That bill, which will go into effect in October, 2019, eliminates cash bail entirely as a requirement for pretrial release. Notes Jeff Clayton, spokesman for the coalition attempting to overturn the law:
This is a reckless attempt to reform the state’s bail system. SB10 is the perfect example of last-minute dealmaking by the governor, the Legislature and labor unions absent input from all stakeholders.
Signatures to Overturn SB10 Already Gathered
That coalition has already submitted 200,000 signatures more than the required 365,880 to have the issue decided by a special vote that would be on the state’s 2020 ballot. Assuming the signatures are verified, the issue will be voted upon in 2020. Otherwise, the law would go into effect as planned.
The new law, were it to go into effect, would eliminate cash bail and have judges release defendants based on a assessment of their risk to the public and the likelihood that they will return for their scheduled trial. Notes Roxanne Sanzhez, the president of the Service Employees International Union California:
The bail industry and its corporate insurance backers have spent millions qualifying this referendum to protect their ability to profit off a system that prioritizes imprisonment, regardless of guilt or innocence. But justice must — and will — prevail.
Worth noting, of course, is that in states where bail reform has been instituted, the percentage of defendants remaining in jail has actually increased – sometimes substantially – rather than decrease, as bail reformers had hoped.