Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to reform the California’s money bail system Tuesday.
Under the new law, which takes effect on Oct. 1, 2019, a decision about whether to grant a criminal defendant release on bail before trial will be based on an evaluation of the risk to public safety rather than the defendant’s ability to pay a set bail amount.
Many advocates who claimed the former system was unfair to low-income defendants have been calling for bail reform, including California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement:
“Today is a transformative day for our justice system. Our old system of money bail was outdated, unsafe, and unfair.”
“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly.”
Some critics have contended, however, that the new law could potentially result in more, rather than fewer, arrestees being held in pretrial detention.