It’s time to weigh in on SB10!
JusticeLA’s leadership on the issue of bail reform has been felt across the state and across the country. Our swift and clear opposition to SB10 earlier this year galvanized grassroots leadership against deceptive bail reform policy and set the precedent that we can expect more from our legislators and each other. But despite our collective efforts with movement partners like Essie Justice Group, Human Rights Watch, LA CAN, and many others, this harmful piece of legislation passed. We opposed this bill because it gave too much unchecked discretion to judges and required the use of profile-based risk assessment tools to determine a person’s freedom.
We also predicted that this unchecked power would expand the state’s pretrial population. Now, L.A. County’s own projections show that SB10 will more than double our pretrial population.
The Judicial Council has released the first two proposed rules to guide implementation. Unfortunately, they failed to provide meaningful checks on unlimited judicial discretion or protections against abuse of the risk assessment tools. Without a loud, collective response, the county’s projections may become a reality.
We have until THIS Friday December 14 at 5pm (PST) to submit comments demanding checks on judicial power and risk assessments!
- Select “Do not agree with proposed changes”
- Enter your comments. Feel free to copy and paste the comments below:
As a stakeholder concerned with the protection of due process and the presumption of innocence, I request that the Judicial Council address the following issues with the proposed rules:
- The proposed rules provide no definition of the risk categories (low, medium and high) into which risk assessment tools will sort people, including no limitation on what factors the tools will use to make their assessments.
- The rules allow the tools to assess for improper risks, like risk of re-arrest for any crime.
- The rules fail to forbid, and may even enable, use of risk assessment tools that lack transparency or produce biased outcomes.
- The rules overwhelmingly use vague language and undefined terms like “significant weight,” “reasonably assure,” “least restrictive” or requirements to “consider” rather than give precise guidance on use of the tools.
- The rules do not set guidelines for controlling accuracy, measuring bias, requiring transparency or addressing other technical flaws with the risk assessment tools.
- The rules do not set procedural requirements to guarantee careful consideration and democratic participation in decisions to create exclusions to release for “medium” risk people.
- The rules allow unproven accusations to be assessed as part of a person’s criminal history, rather than limit it to actual convictions.
- The rules do not create any procedure for an individual to challenge an unfavorable risk score.
- The rules do not clearly proscribe discrimination based on immigration status or citizenship, nor do they institute procedural protections in the pre-trial process to protect against bias in discretionary decisions by all judicial officers involved.
- The rules do not account for the difficulty accused people will have getting favorable information to Pretrial Assessment Services (“PAS”) agents at the pre-arraignment stage.
- The rules do not enhance the due process rights of accused people in addressing their pretrial custody status.
I support the following proposed protections:
- Courts and PAS must account for the circumstances of the accused individual and the impact pretrial incarceration will have on that person’s family and community.
- Conditions of release must not be a form of punishment and must not be made overly difficult to fulfill.
As the largest county in the state and the largest jailer in the world, Los Angeles has the most at stake. That is why it’s critical that your voice be heard. Together, we will continue to fight for real bail reform, transform our county and bring our people home.
Yours In the Struggle,