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A Personal View of California’s Bail Reform

This problem of locking people up before trial is personal to me. Ten years ago, I was falsely accused of a crime, and I spent a night in jail based on one person’s word. I had committed no crime, but I was booked for and charged with felony domestic violence, and I had to take the Read More

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The Pros and Cons of Bail Reform

We’ll see how California’s new bail law plays out in practice. On one hand, it promises to treat rich and poor alike when it comes to keeping someone in jail until any trial. It says everyone will get out within twelve hours on a misdemeanor charge, with some exceptions. And if you’re accused of a Read More

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California to End Money Bail

On August 28, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 10 into law. It becomes effective October 1, 2019, and as you may have heard, it changes everything. It completely repeals the chapter of the Penal Code that provided for cash bail and replaces it with an entirely new one. Here’s the gist of it. If you’re arrested for Read More

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They May Be Intelligent, But Are They Wise?

Speaking of fair shakes, here is a wise word of caution about the emerging, expanding use of computer programs to evaluate people in the justice system, whether at bail hearings, sentencings, or elsewhere. The author is a former software engineer at Facebook who’s now studying law at Harvard. Her point isn’t that we shouldn’t use or consult these programs, but Read More

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Two Sides of the Same Coin

It’s not always easy to weigh the scales of justice. Sometimes, like in the two stories from last week, the system treats people too harshly, and it ruins their lives. Other times, though, someone’s unfairly blamed for not being harsh enough. That’s the premise of this piece by a former chief criminal judge who was vilified for setting someone free without Read More

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