The industry, which includes more than 2,700 licensed bail agents and companies statewide, has already launched a counter attack, submitting paperwork for a proposed referendum that would stall the law and put the decision up to voters in
Supporters of bail reform say the new law eliminates a financial burden in the justice system that weighs disproportionately on poor defendants. The new system, would instead consider a suspect's risk to public safety and their likelihood of appearing in court to determine whether they should be released.
The law's passage comes after two years of repeated calls by state leaders to enact reforms within the cash bail system. Senate Bill 10 cleared a final vote on the
But the measure goes too far and would effectively shutter a whole industry, said
"The bail business is in need of reform, there's no question about it," Gibbs said. "But is this reform? You got rid of it."
Statewide, more than 2,700 individual bail agents are licensed through the
"If you don't have any skin in the game, there's no reason to appear in court," he said.
Gibbs favors a compromise -- a system that allows courts to conduct pretrial assessments but also gives defendants the option of paying bail if they don't qualify for release.
"It still protects your right to be presumed innocent," Gibbs said.
Other reforms he supports include creation of a statewide bail schedule and the elimination of stacked bail, in which defendants have to pay bail for each individual charge instead of the highest bail amount.
Supporters of the deeper overhaul point to several studies that call out disparities between defendants who can and cannot afford bail. The studies include a 2016 report by the Prison Policy Initiative, a nonprofit think tank focused on prison reform, that says 60 percent of the people who cannot post bail bonds in the
Under the new system, both Gibbs and Buntjer are wary of how much discretion judges will have in deciding whether defendants can be released from jail, and under what conditions.
(c)2018 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Visit The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) at www.pressdemocrat.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.