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Jerry Brown Signs Bill Making California First State To End Bail Before Trial

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday that made his state the first to end the practice of bail for criminal defendants awaiting trial.

Under Senate Bill 10, the California Money Bail Reform Act, a suspect’s ability to make bail no longer determines whether he or she must await trial from a jail cell, reported ABC 7. SB 10 grants more power to judges to decide whether to release suspects before trial, reported the Palm Springs Desert Sun.

This system for releasing defendants will rely on a risk-assessment system that has not been completely defined even though it will take effect in October 2019, reported The Associated Press.

The bill that Brown signed lets California’s Judicial Council craft new rules about detaining suspects before they are tried, reported The AP. Then individual counties will decide how to implement those rules.

Defendants accused of nonviolent misdemeanors cannot be held for more than 12 hours after being arrested under SB 10. Any defendant charged with a serious violent felony will have to be detained prior to trial, reported The AP. (RELATED: ACLU Defends The NRA Against Andrew Cuomo’s ‘Blacklist Campaign’)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was a co-sponsor of the bill in 2016 but has since disavowed SB 10 for giving too much power to judges, reported the Sacramento Bee. The bill’s goal was to eliminate conditions that made impoverished defendants more likely to be incarcerated.

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