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No bail law signed by Governor Brown

Thomas Hawk

California's legislature has done away with the cash bail system, after Governor Jerry Brown signed the new law this week.

Under the new law, people charged with a felony would go through a pre-trial risk assessment process. If a judge releases them, they would be supervised by a government agency or business contracted to handle that task.

Sean Hoffman is Legislation Director for the California District Attorney's Association, which worked on the bill.

"I don't think that the bill's perfect. I think we'll see some tweaks between now and when it's ultimately implemented. But, from our perspective, this provides greater judicial discretion than we have under the current money-bail system and moves us toward a system that's safer and fairer."

Topo Padilla is president of the Golden State Bail Agents Association. He says the legislation originally introduced by Senator Bob Hertzberg is unsafe.

"He is gonna have blood on his hands when a.) people are released with no oversight and they go out and commit more crimes and b.) more importantly when people have to remain in custody because a judge is afraid to let them out."

People arrested for most misdemeanors would be booked and released without an assessment.

The law will go into effect October 1, 2019. Padilla did not comment when asked if the new law would be challenged in court, but he did call it, "unconstitutional."