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Is Bail Bonds Reform Good For Florida Residents?

The short answer is NO! California has tried and failed.

bail bond reform florida

California’s historic overhaul of cash bail is now on hold, pending a 2020 referendum

Reporting from Sacramento —

A landmark law to abolish California’s money bail system has been put on hold until voters decide its fate in November 2020 after elections officials on Wednesday certified a statewide referendum backed by a coalition of bail industry associations.

Elections officials verified more than 400,000 signatures to qualify the referendum for the ballot, setting the stage for a campaign battle between bail companies fighting for their survival and state leaders who have pledged to protect indigent criminal defendants from unjust incarceration and fees.

Senate Bill 10, signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown last August, was slated to go into effect this fall. It would give judges greater discretion to decide who should remain in jail ahead of trial and eliminate the payment of money as a condition of release, a practice that critics say traps defendants in cycles of debt, even if they have not been convicted of a crime.

Bail groups fought the legislation since it was first proposed three years ago, saying it would result in the release of violent offenders to the streets and decimate a $2-billion national industry, including 3,200 bail agents registered in the state. A day after Brown signed the law, a national coalition of bail agency groups launched its referendum drive, raising about $3 million and collecting more than enough signatures to qualify the measure in just two months.

“We’re grateful to the hundreds of thousands of voters who signed petitions so quickly to qualify this referendum for the ballot,” Cesar E. McGuire, director of Bail Hotline Bail Bonds, said in a statement. “In passing this misguided bill, the Legislature ignored not only public safety and justice, but a fundamental of the criminal justice system — defendants must appear at trial for justice to be served.”

Bail companies will be able to continue doing business as usual until voters weigh whether to overturn the law. But court and government officials have pledged to defend the reforms and counter that the bail industry’s efforts will not stop momentum for changes to bail and other pretrial systems taking place in courts across the country.

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