CALIFORNIA, USA — California's Judicial Council voted to put an end to an emergency statewide $0 bail schedule meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus in jails.
The changes are meant to reflect Governor Gavin Newsom's decision to grant variances for reopening in 51 counties and a return of court services that were previously shuttered during the pandemic.
"The Judicial Council's action better reflects the current needs of our state, which has different health concerns and restrictions county-to-county based on the threat posed by COVID-19," said Justice Marsha Slough, a Judicial Council member and chair of the Executive and Planning Committee. "We urge local courts to continue to use the emergency COVID-19 bail schedule where necessary to protect the health of the community, the courts, and the incarcerated. We are also asking courts to report back by June 20 on whether they plan to keep the COVID-19 emergency bail schedule, or another reduced bail schedule."
It was a 17 to 2 vote and the decision will go into effect on June 20.
The temporary bail schedule set presumptive bail at $0 and was for people accused of lower-level crimes. It was put in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in jails and surrounding communities.
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California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye also rescinded her statewide order that extended time for defendants to be arraigned. The change means defendants would be arraigned within 48 hours again.
Officials say courts could keep the emergency coronavirus bail schedule or reduced bail schedules where appropriate to maximize the safe release of arrestees before or at arraignment.
The Judicial Council can still bring the measure back if health conditions change or worsen.
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