New California Supreme Court Decision is One of the Most Important in Decades for Those Arrested with Limited Ability to Make High Bail
Many people who are in custody are not guilty of the charges that have been brought against them. Yet, due to being in custody, they lose their jobs, often lose their families, and most importantly, lose their freedom solely because they do not have enough financial worth to “bailout.” But the days when a person arrested for a crime who cannot make the scheduled 50k or 100k bail would sit in jail for months, if not years, waiting for his day in court or his right to a trial have come to an end.
In re Kenneth Humphrey
The California Supreme Court, in their highly anticipated opinion in In re Kenneth Humphrey, has laid down a new legal doctrine challenging the current cash bail system. In their opinion, the Court stated that “…a defendant is often detained pretrial not based on a ‘careful, individualized determination of the need to protect public safety,’ but rather the defendant’s financial ability to post the sum called for in the county’s uniform bail schedule.”
Instead, the Court made the following three holdings:
“ (1) the ‘common practice’ of conditioning a defendant’s pretrial release ‘solely’ on whether he or she can afford bail is unconstitutional…
(2) in cases where a financial condition is necessary, the court must consider the defendant’s ability to pay in setting the amount of bail rather than mechanically applying the county’s bail schedule; and
(3) that in ‘unusual’ cases where no combination of conditions adequately protect public safety, a court may detain the defendant without bail, but only upon a finding of clear and convincing evidence that no other conditions apply.”
The Court’s ruling has “changed the game” for criminal defendants in California, especially since the average bail in California is 50k compared to the average bail in other states of 10k. As a result of the Humphrey decision, gone are the days that a court could rely only on a pre-set “bail schedule” to set bail for all persons accused of a certain crime. Now, the Court must ask the question, is the accused able to make the “bail schedule amount”? If the answer is no, the court MUST look into other alternatives, including electronic monitoring (commonly known as an ankle monitor) or treatment (drug, alcohol, or mental health).
Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney at Wallin and Klarich
If you or a loved one is sitting in jail and cannot afford to make bail, you should contact Wallin and Klarich immediately. You may be able to retain our office and we can then go into court and demand that the Court follows this important Supreme Court decision and order the release of your loved one so they can return to work and to their family and be out of custody while fighting the criminal charges against them. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you.