California will become the first state to eliminate bail for suspects awaiting trial under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).
The measure, which takes effect Oct. 1, 2019, eliminates the payment of money as condition for release and gives judges more power in determining who remains incarcerated ahead of trial.
“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday.
Under the new law, people who are arrested will be subject to a “pretrial risk assessment” to determine whether they can be released. The assessment also will determine whether the defendant presents a “low,” “medium” or “high” risk to the public.
Low-risk defendants will be released, and the courts will decide whether to release or hold medium-risk suspects. Individuals arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors will not be subject to the risk assessment in order to be released.
California's Senate passed the bill on a 26-12 vote, and the state Assembly passed the measure 41-27, according to media reports.