The controversial “zero-bail” policy of Los Angeles County will go back into effect on Wednesday after a judge lifted a preliminary injunction in a class action case.
Under the policy, the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department can’t ask some people held before their arraignment to pay cash bail.
The LASD says it only affects people who have been arrested for misdemeanors and non-violent crimes. Those arrested for sexual offenses, domestic abuse, or crimes with weapons will not be affected by the zero-bail policy.
The department said that people who commit multiple crimes while out on no bail can be required to pay cash.
This month, Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff made a decision in the case Urquidi vs. Los Angeles, which aims to end the use of cash bail. Riff said that keeping someone in jail because they can’t pay probably goes against their constitutional rights after he gave the preliminary order.
Law enforcement officials decide on charges and a bail number when they arrest someone. Those who can’t pay that amount have to stay in jail until they can go to court.
“In this country, we’re meant to assume that people are not guilty until proven guilty. “A presumption of innocence doesn’t mean much when you’re locked up,” said Salil Dudani, the lead lawyer in the case.
Civil rights lawyers say that tens of thousands of people are locked up for a few days after being arrested every year because they can’t pay bail.
“Vandalism is a good example. Several of our clients have been charged with this. That’s a bail amount of $20,000. “If the officer says you did vandalism, that amount will be your bail for 2–5 days, and neither a lawyer nor a judge will look at this,” Dudani said.
He said that most of his clients’ claims are thrown out when they are brought before a judge. But by then, they have been in jail for a few days.