By Collin Jones,

Los Angeles County has reportedly instituted a zero-bail system that officially went into effect on Sunday. The move eliminates setting a defendant’s cash bail amount based on the crime committed.

Fox News reported that the critics of the old policy, which set bail proportionate to the severity of the crime, claimed that the rule favored the wealthy who could afford to pay their way out of jail while failing to sufficiently ensure the safety of the public.

However, the new zero-bail system is also facing backlash. Known as the Pre-Arraignment Release Protocol, the new system is being criticized by law-and-order advocates for taking responsibility away from the justice system by allowing suspects who allegedly commit crimes to quickly be released from custody instead of remaining in jail until charges and a trial have been set.

The only suspects who would not be released are those who have been accused of committing the most serious crimes, such as murder.

“Our communities have not been shy about telling us how nervous they are about this change,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Lunda said to a Board of Supervisors, claiming that crime victims who see offenders immediately released from custody are left with almost no confidence in the criminal justice system, per KNBC.

However, county supervisor Holly Mitchell says that the new bail system does not mean suspected criminals are evading consequences for their actions. She went on to say that “it’s really dangerous for us to conflate bail with accountability,” adding that “bail means I have the resources to pay my way out of jail.”

The new system was introduced after it was claimed that cash bail favored those with enough money to get themselves out of jail, while lower-income people were unable to pay their way out of jail for a similar crime.

The report noted that most people who were charged with non-violent or non-serious crimes would either be cited and released at the scene or booked and released at a police station, with an order to appear in court at a designated time once charges were filed.

Those who are suspected of being a flight risk or posing increased risk could be sent to a magistrate judge, who will then determine how to proceed with the accused. The accused could be held in custody pending arraignment or released under electronic monitoring.

A judge also reserves the authority to revoke a defendant’s release condition after the defendant has been charged and appeared in court for arraignment.

Controversial zero-bail policy takes effect in LA


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