California has become the first state in the nation to get rid of cash bail.
John Bretz has been in the bail bonds business for 11 years. He has a problem with SB 10, the law just signed by Governor Jerry Brown aimed to reform the bail system.
“It’s not going to hurt our business, it’s going to put us out of business,” says Bretz adding that while he can survive because he also is an investigator, the industry will be shuttered and have a domino effect on communities if this law is allowed to take effect.
But that’s not all.
“It’s going to cost the tax payers a lot more money,” he says.
With the new law, getting out of jail before a hearing will depend on the risk you pose, not on whether or not you can pay.
Robert Hertzberg, (D) Los Angeles, the senator who co-wrote the law says the current system does not work for everyone, “The chief justice says current money bail is neither safe nor fair, I think what you’re going to see now is safe and fair,” adding that the average bail is $50,000 in California and the average person doesn’t even have $400 to spare.
But Bretz says no money bail means no incentive for people who broke the law to return to court, “Therefore you’re going to have to have a lot more officers out there running down people who don’t go to court which is done now by the bail bondsman or bounty hunter.”
He also agrees with the ACLU’s position, the people this law is supposed to help will be the same ones who won’t qualify to get released by those assessing their risk, “I do believe that you know, whether we like it or not race comes into play in a lot of things we do.”
The law will take effect on October 1, 2019.