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Steps Toward Limits On County-Wide Cash Bail Suffers Major Setback

A lawsuit challenging the legality of# LosAngeles County's new bail schedule faced a setback as an #OrangeCounty Superior Court Judge, William Claster, ruled that the move to restrict the use of cash bail does not violate the state Constitution. Filed by a dozen L.A. County cities in September, the complaint aimed to stop the Los Angeles County Superior Court from implementing the new schedule, virtually eliminating cash bail for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases. The judge rejected the argument that the court violated its duty to public safety under the California Constitution.

The new bail schedule, effective from October 1, allows almost all misdemeanor defendants to be cited and released without bail, with judges having the option to impose nonfinancial conditions of release. Certain misdemeanors still require cash bail, while serious offenses like murder and rape continue to have significant bail amounts. Law enforcement leaders and some politicians criticized the new policy, expressing concerns that it might lead to increased re-offending without consequences.

This case is set to return to court in March, with plaintiffs considering amending their complaint. Despite the setback, data from the first three weeks of the new bail schedule show only a 3% re-arrest rate among over 5,000 individuals processed, and #LAPD data indicates a decrease in property crime in November.

We'll be following this for future updates.


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