California judicial council ends $0 bail COVID-19 rule

Council members voted 17-2 to rescind the statewide order.

California judicial leaders on Wednesday ended a statewide policy of imposing $0 bail for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies that reduced jail populations by more than 20,000 suspects during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s Judicial Council said a uniform statewide policy cannot be applied equally to the state’s 58 counties as they vary widely in how they are responding to the pandemic. Many places in California never even had a real problem related to the virus, with very few cases, and little to no deaths.

The Council had other stuff on their agenda like deciding whether or not to end the emergency orders that have suspended foreclosures and evictions during the pandemic, but they have decided to delay the vote for now.

It is important to note that individual counties can keep the $0 bail policy “where necessary to protect the health of the community, the courts, and the incarcerated” after the statewide policy ends June 20, said Justice Marsha Slough, a member of the council. Which means places like Los Angeles and cities in the Bay Area will probably try to keep the policy in place a little bit longer.

The state has seen thousands of prisoners released early due to covid concerns, arrests are way down because police have been told to pull back. Many suspected criminals that are arrested have been given these $0 bail and been able to get right back out on the streets. Usually getting picked up by police later on the suspicion of another crime.

These policies have been met with a lot of criticisms from people in the community that are concerned the $0 bail policy and early jail releases will lead to an increase in crime. Indeed when you combine that with plans to cut police budgets across the state you start to see a recipe for disaster is clearly brewing.

Los Angeles saw an absolutely horrifying spike in homicides in recent weeks. Add that to a number of police officers that have been attacked, shot, and killed. You can clearly see a trend towards lawlessness and crime in California. The $0 bail policy was only adding gasoline onto a fire. Probably literally, as a series of buildings have also being burned in Los Angeles, probably due to arson.

We need Law and Order right now, not more pandering to criminals. The decision by the California Judicial Council to end this stupid policy is one of the very few good decisions right now among many bad decisions being made by our stupid leaders. Let us hope we can start to see the restoration of sanity to our system.

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