Judge Cancels Bail in Los Angeles

A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge ruled last week that arrestees for non-violent felonies and misdemeanors must be released without bail.  CBS affiliate KCAL reports that Judge Lawrence Riff issued a preliminary injunction blocking judges from requiring bail for all but the most violent offenses.  The Jerry Brown appointee held that requiring bail for arrestees who cannot pay is a “serious constitutional violation.”  Among those who will be released without bail under this ruling are virtually all thieves, including car thieves, drug dealers, and most people who commit assaults, including domestic violence.  The Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times praised the judge for bringing “back sanity in L.A.”  Did the Times miss the historic spike in crime that hit Los Angeles when bail was suspended in 2020?  That’s the same year that 56.4% of voters rejected zero bail (Proposition 25) at the November general election.

While most of those arrested for felonies and all misdemeanors in Los Angeles County are still being released on zero or no bail under Soros-purchased District Attorney George Gascon, this judge’s order memorializes his policy.  Criminals now know that they are not going to be held in jail anywhere in Los Angeles County for stealing a car, sucker punching a woman at a mall or selling fentanyl-laced cocaine to a college student.

The Times Editorial Board notes that “L.A. law enforcement officials acknowledge that most crimes declined when the zero-dollar bail policy was in effect, from April 2020 to June 2022.”  This is untrue.  Violent crime spiked dramatically in 2020 and remains high today.  Property crimes dropped because California’s Proposition 47 and District Attorney George Gascon eliminated punishment for most property crimes.  With no punishment, people stopped reporting most property crimes and police have nobody to arrest.  Even the swarming of stores by thieves captured on security cameras often go unreported.

The Times Editorial Board also claimed that “peer reviewed academic studies established that money bail doesn’t make it any more likely that an accused person will return to court for trial, or any less likely that they will commit new crimes.”  Wrong again.

Data released last September by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services provided researchers at the Manhattan Institute with the necessary information to compare the rearrest rate for offenders prior to the state’s 2020 bail reform law with the rearrest rate after the law took effect. The intent of the bail reform law was to force judges to release more arrestees without bail, called Non-Monetary Release (NMR). Charles Fain Lehman’s piece in the City Journal confirmed what many in law enforcement had predicted: when offenders are released without bail, they are more likely to be rearrested for committing new crimes.  The only media that covered the story was a September New York Post article by Jim Quinn that noted: “in 2019, 166 of the NMR participants got re-arrested each month. In 2021, the number soared to 445 re-arrests a month, including more than 300 felonies each month.” That’s over 2-1⁄2 times more rearrests per month.

Another study released in February by the Yolo County District Attorney also tends to refute the claim by the Times.   “The average recidivism rate for those released on zero bail was 78% over 18 months, while the average recidivism rate for those released on bail was only 46%. Thus, arrested individuals released on zero bail reoffended at an average rate that was 70% higher than arrestees who posted bail…. Individuals released on zero bail committed new felonies 90% more often than those who posted bail…. Individuals released on zero bail committed new violent offenses 200% more often than those who posted bail.”

Representatives of the Bail Bond industry plan to appeal Judge Riff’s ruling.   CJLF may be interested in helping them.


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