Zero Bail Policy Takes Effect in City and County of Los Angeles
Both the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department cannot require the payment of cash bail; Arrestees charged with sexual crimes, domestic violence and weapons offenses are excluded from the zero bail policy
A controversial zero bail policy for the city and county of Los Angeles went into effect Wednesday, after a judge granted a preliminary injunction in a class action lawsuit.
According to the provision, both the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) cannot require the payment of cash bail from some persons arrested prior to a arraignment hearing.
LASD said the policy only affects those who are arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors or felonies.
Those arrested on charges of sex crimes, domestic violence, and weapons offenses are excluded from the zero bail policy.
LASD added that repeat offenders who are released without bond may be subjected to to a cash payment.
In early May, Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff ruled in the Urquidi v. Los Angeles, which seeks to end the use of cash bail. After issuing the preliminary injunction, the judge said that holding someone for not being able to post bail would likely violate their constitutional rights.
At the time a person is taken into custody, the officers in charge set the charges, which are accompanied by a specific amount of bail. Those who can't post bail have to wait in jail until they can go to trial.
“We're supposed to have a presumption of innocence in this country. It's not much of a presumption of innocence when you're in a prison cell,” said lead attorney for the lawsuit, Salil Dudani.
According to civil rights lawyers, tens of thousands of people are taken into custody each year, and remain behind bars for several days, because they cannot post bail.
When it finally reaches a judge, most cases are dismissed at arraignment. However, the people have already spent several days locked up in a jail.