Sacramento Update

Bail-bond companies defend profiteering from poor people

Bail-bond companies can intervene in a San Francisco case and defend the law requiring newly arrested defendants to post bail, a law that the city and state have refused to defend, a federal judge has ruled.

Shaking down poor people is what these companies do.

The suit contends the California law, as applied in San Francisco, discriminates against the poor by keeping them in jail while wealthier people charged with the same crimes go free.

Previous requests by the California Bail Agents Association to enter the case had been rejected by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of Oakland, who said San Francisco and the state attorney general’s office could defend the law.

Gonzalez Rogers reconsidered after City Attorney Dennis Herrera and then-Attorney General Kamala Harris said they considered the bail system unfair to the poor and would not defend it.

The suit challenges the law’s requirement that a defendant pay monetary bail, or the nonrefundable 10 percent fee charged by bail-bond companies, to be released after arrest.

Defendants who can’t afford bail remain in jail.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

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Categories: Sacramento Update

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