March 5, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

LA Courts to Permit Release of Nonviolent Arrestees Without Paid Bail Starting October 1st

Presiding Judge Jessner’s Decision Aims to Ensure Equal Access to Release 

By Keemia Zhang

On Wednesday, Presiding Judge Samantha P. Jessner announced that people arrested in Los Angeles County for non-violent or non-serious felonies and misdemeanors, per new bail schedules that she approved, could be released prior to arraignment, as reported by ABC7. 

“A person’s ability to pay a large sum of money should not be the determining factor in deciding whether that person, who is presumed innocent, stays in jail before trial or is released,” stated Jessner. 

The new rule is slated to come into effect in Los Angeles County starting October 1st. A preliminary injunction for the rule has been in place since May, preventing the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department from posting cash bail – but not other law enforcement agencies in the area, such as the police departments of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

The new bail schedules will be implemented across Los Angeles County, removing the requirement for posted money bail for those accused of minor and non-violent offenses. In the place of traditional bail, Jessner explained that “the protocols focus on an individual arrestee’s risk to public and victim safety and the arrestee’s likelihood of returning to court.”

Cite-and-release and book-and-release procedures are set to make up the protocol, specifically involving theft, vehicular code violations, and vandalism. More serious charges, including firearm possession and sexual battery, are set to be reviewed by a magistrate on a case-by-case basis. Capital offenses such as murders with special circumstances and other felonies that are spelled out in the state’s constitution are charges that would not be eligible for this kind of release before arraignment. 

Judge Jessner argued that “A low-risk arrestee should not be held in jail simply because they cannot post the necessary funds to be released pending arraignment” and assured the public that the new protocol aims to both reduce failures to appear in court and to ensure “equal access to release to all arrestees in the county based on one’s wealth rather than one’s risk.”

According to Jessner, the Court believes this new bail schedule will  “increase community safety.”

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