UPDATED 6:00 PM PT – Friday, March 26, 2021
The California Supreme Court ruled judges must consider a suspect’s ability to pay bail when considering setting a bail amount.
The court’s unanimous decision came on Thursday, with justices saying it’s unconstitutional to condition an arrestee’s freedom on whether or not they can afford bail. Judges can still require electronic monitoring, check-ins with authorities or order a suspect to undergo drug and alcohol treatment.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Supreme Court loosens rules for no bail, more suspects to be released before trial.
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) March 25, 2021
Experts warned the ruling could cause delays in the system.
“There has to be an individual assessment of wealth, or lack of ability to pay,” attorney Dale Miller said. “That will be a cumbersome process, and I think that might create a slowdown in the finding of an appropriate bail amount.”
Reports said the median bail amount in California is $50,000.
Voters in November voted against a state law that would have ended California’s cash bail system.