CALIFORNIA — The California Judicial Council announced on June 10 that the $0 bail order issued in April will be rescinded on June 20.
The policy imposed $0 bail for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies offenders, with the intention to reduce jail populations and help fight the spread of COVID-19. The Council passed the bill on April 6 in a unanimous vote, and it went into effect on April 13.
The vote to rescind the bill was 17-2, according to the Judicial Council’s announcement.
Justice Marsha Slough said that counties are showing different results in their own local efforts against the virus.
“We urge local courts to continue to use the emergency COVID-19 bail schedule where necessary to protect the health of the community, the courts, and the incarcerated,” Slough said. “We are also asking courts to report back by June 20 on whether they plan to keep the COVID-19 emergency bail schedule, or another reduced bail schedule.”
The announcement also said that prisons throughout the 58 counties in the state will start receiving transfers from county jails, “which will continue to lower jail populations.”
The policy has led to controversy in the state.
LAPD records obtained by the Los Angeles Times indicate that 213 people had been arrested multiple times as of April 30. LAPD Chief Michel Moore called for the policy to be reconsidered.
Eric R. Nuñez, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, applauded the Judicial Council’s decision.
“We expressed serious concerns about the impact of $0 bail as we felt it would result in inappropriate early release of potentially dangerous offenders and those who would continue to reoffend if not held accountable,” Nuñez said in a statement. “We applaud the Judicial Council for voting on whether to rescind their $0 bail schedule at their meeting this week.”
The Judicial Council reminded law enforcement that they could petition a judge to deny bail to defendants considered a cancer for public safety. Offenses not eligible for the $0 bail include violent felonies, offenses requiring sex offender registration, domestic violence, stalking and driving under the influence.
“More than 20,000 defendants accused of lower-level offenses have been released before their trials from California’s jails since the start of the pandemic, helping keep jails and courts from becoming vectors for the spread of COVID-19 between inmates, jail staff and surrounding communities,” according to the Judicial Council.