California Gov. Brown Signs Legislation Eliminating Money Bail System

Photo Credit: Ryan Grant, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

California become the first state in the nation to abolish the money bail system under a legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.

SB 10, the California Money Reform Bail Act, establishes an individualized risk-based system for determining the pre-trial release of defendants.

Under the law, the custody status of defendants awaiting trial will be based on an assessment of risk to public safety, probability of not showing up in court and other factors. The defendants’ ability to pay money bail will no longer be the basis for their temporary release.

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Brown said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom commented that “California has opened the door to pursue and perfect a just pre-trial system.”

A Transformative Solution for Californians

California State Sen. Robert Hertzberg, co-author of the new law, commented, “This is a transformative day for our justice system. Our old system of money bail was outdated, unsafe and unfair.”