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NCJ Number: 76827 Find in a Library
Title: Politics of Bail Reform and the Need for Judicial Intervention
Journal: University of West Los Angeles Law Review  Volume:12  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:1-16
Author(s): J A Kline
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article considers discriminatory aspects of the cash bail system, response to the problem by the California legislature, political aspects of the system, and the need for judicial intervention.
Abstract: As a result of legislation enacted during the 1978 legislative session, California is now among the relatively small number of States that have taken action to mitigate discriminatory aspects of the cash bail system. Although a long overdue step in the right direction, the new legislation does not adequately eliminate many inequities of current pretrial release and detention procedures. The California Supreme Court now has before it two cases, Van Atta v. Scott and In re Sanders, which provide the corrective opportunity. The cash bail system's principal flaw is that it discriminates against the poor. Notwithstanding the success of a few reform programs, the cash bail system remains firmly entrenched in most States. In California, legislative reform of the system received the most political support from those who are familiar with the criminal justice system, such as the district attorney and public defender associations. In addition, prominent law enforcement officials have also urged that the requirement of cash bail eliminated with respect to a broad range of minor criminal violations. Despite this support, passage of a comprehensive reform measure has not yet been realized. The constitutional defects which remain can only be eliminated through the judicial forum. Specifically, the cash bail system infringes upon the constitutional right to liberty. Detention often leads to loss of employment, inability to adequately prepare the defense, and greater likelihood of conviction and severe sentence. These results are confirmed by the evidence presented in the two California cases, emphasizing the need for judicial attention and remedial action. The article includes 58 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Bail discrimination; Bail reform; California; Judicial decisions; Law reform; Political influences; State laws
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