Judge Issues Preliminary Ruling on Cash Bail Requirements

Bail Bond

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge has issued a preliminary injunction preventing the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County from demanding cash bail from many arrested people who are still awaiting arraignment.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff held hearings on the issue, was presented with testimony and then took the case under submission May 9 before ruling on Tuesday.

The judge noted that the six plaintiffs -- Phillip Urquidi, Terilyn Goldson, Daniel Martinez, Arthur Lopez, Susana Perez and Gerardo Campos -- were among tens of thousands of people who are arrested annually and then held in jail until a bench officer determines under what conditions they may be released while awaiting further court hearings.

Arrestees with sufficient wealth or other support can post the bail amount immediately and go free, while others not so fortunate have to stay in jail until their hearings, the judge wrote.

The plaintiffs maintained the "wealth-based detention system" is unconstitutional under the state and federal constitutions.

All of the plaintiffs spent five days in jail because they could not afford to post the scheduled bail.

Riff ordered all the parties to come up with different pretrial detention rules within 60 days, with possible options including releasing people on their own with a promise to appear or the use of electronic monitoring.

In the meantime, those taken into custody for non-violent and non- serious offenses cannot be required to pay bail before their arraignment, according to Riff. Those arrested for violent felonies or certain serious misdemeanors, including domestic violence, are not protected by the injunction.

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