A New Jersey incident uncovers hidden risks of bail reform. Don’t experiment with California public safety systems. We are a community, and being a member of society demands responsibilities as well as rights. When someone commits a crime they should pay what they owe to society, and they are responsible for cleaning up their own mess. People who are jailed have the right to seek help from a wide selection of bail agents, and this system keeps criminals accountable for making their court appearances at no expense to the rest of us. Instead of promoting responsibility and protecting these constitutionally granted rights, the bail reform measures introduced by Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) reward criminals at the expense of moral citizens and burdens taxpayers. Advocates of bail reform measures have promised the public that persons accused of serious or violent felonies would face justice in the new system as they do now. These bail reform measures are modeled after social experiments which went into effect in the state of New Jersey this year. Already, it’s clear that reform of the justice system in New Jersey promised more justice and safety than reformers could deliver. On Thursday June 15, 2017 three men were arrested in New Jersey for trafficking 7.7 pounds of heroin. According to an incident report by NJ.com, Edwin Gomez, Steven Rodriguez, and Steven J Torres were shipping heroin from Mexico City to New York City at the time of their arrest in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As of June 29, 2017 the three men were released from the Atlantic County Jail because the bail reform measures let them roam free among the public. This New Jersey case uncovers deep flaws in the risk assessment process, and similar procedural oversights could lead to even more dangerous situations in California. California has a population of 39 million people, and the state court system is responsible for processing over 7.5 million legal cases a year. Our state also shares a border with Mexico, whose drug trafficking organizations are the largest foreign suppliers of heroin to the United States. The current unemployment rate in Kern County is 9.9%, nearly double the statewide average. The blow back from social experiments on the justice system will hit California’s Central Valley the hardest. Scott Spielman, the Assistant District Attorney of Kern County, has said 60 % of people who are cited and released for misdemeanors in Kern County go missing for their scheduled court appearances. On the other hand, the rate of failures to appear at court for people released from custody on a bail bond are less than 4%. Dissolving current systems of criminal accountability is not only a reckless policy, it’s also pointless in terms of upholding the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system. Citing and releasing felons could be devastating to the safety of the public, and harms the vulnerable communities criminals are released into. Bakersfield, Fresno, and Stockton are lined with white brick roads; jails in the Central Valley will dump inmates into your backyard. The punishment of criminals is not the only way to create safer neighborhoods, but destroying the systems that are in place to keep criminals accountable is a reckless and dangerous experiment. When delinquents are given a direct path away from justice, it sends a message to others that law enforcement will let crime slip through the net of public safety.
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Kern County must choose whether to ban commercial marijuana, or impose regulations on the emerging industry. ASNPAC educated the public on the benefits of regulating marijuana. The following quote is an excerpt from that interview:
"Regulating is going to bring in a new tax pace, also create a safer environment for the people working in those places," they said. "It's going to create a safer environment for the grows and the people using marijuana. We have to diversify. Oil isn't coming back, agriculture is up and down."
Patricia Wenskunas represents thousands through testimony in Sacramento against SB 10
SACRAMENTO, CA – Patricia Wenskunas, founder and CEO of a nonprofit victims’ rights advocacy organization named Crime Survivors Inc., addressed members of the California State Assembly’s Public Safety Committee to raise concerns about the way bail reform threatens rights of victims. On the morning of July 11th Patricia was joined by public safety experts and a group of supporters as she condemned Senate Bill 10 for not doing enough for victims of crime.Read more
The fight against Senate Bill 10 is heating up in Sacramento. The dangerous bill SB 10 will be the priority focus of the Committee on Public Safety hearing scheduled to begin at 9 am. There will be people from both sides speaking out at the Capitol, so ASNPAC has prepared a few resources to help the public understand how SB 10 can have a direct impact on public safety.Read more
Dover, Delaware. Wednesday June 7, 2017
The Delaware House Judiciary Committee tabled (dismissed indefinitely) HB204, which would have threatened to disrupt criminal accountability systems at the expense and risk to taxpayers and public safety systems. At ASN we congratulate the Delaware legislature for taking the prudent course, and dismissing this radical bill.
One bill down and one more to go! Our NO AB 42 campaign successfully echoed the concerns of public safety experts and concerned citizens who opposed Assemblyman Rob Bonta's AB 42 proposals. However, State Senator Bob Hertzberg's SB 10 passed the Senate.
Message from our Lobbyist: David Quintana
Members, non-members, families, employees and anyone you do business with; contact your Senate and Assemblymen by phone and in writing. This is important - we need to expand the population contacting them as much as possible. Attached members can check the maps to see which district they are located in. Then contact immediately and repeat contact again next week.
Update on Bail Bills:
There was no vote needed at the hearing on Wednesday, May 17th, but
there was a great showing of agents that came and wore NO on AB 42 (sticker) on their coats.
Once these bills have been negotiated, they will be heard for a vote, SB 10 on May 25th and AB 42 on May 26th. The team of lobbyists and CBAA will work to negotiate the bill language before that date. It is important for us to build trust with the authors during the negotiation process. The authors know the cost is too high, so we have a position of power. As always we will update with what happens.
Gloria Mitchell, President
You (or someone who looks just like you) have been arrested and hauled down to the county jail to be booked, fingerprinted, your mug shot taken and allowed that all-important phone call.
Whether you use it to phone a bail bond agent directly or have someone else call for you, depending upon the alleged crime you can be free within in a couple of hours – presuming you can raise the 10 percent down.
But Tuesday in Sacramento, state legislators likely will take a step toward joining a number of other states in the nation that have eliminated bail altogether. Assembly Bill 42, authored by Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, goes before the State Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety on Tuesday, where it is expected to move on to the appropriations committee toward a possible floor vote in June.
If passed, those arrested would no longer have to pay monetary bail. A judge would determine whether they would be released on their own recognizance or are too much of a threat to society to go anywhere but a jail cell to await trial.
At that point, the word “bail” would be relegated to reference a part on a fishing reel or getting water out of a leaky boat.
After our coverage last week regarding the problems associated with New Jersey bail reform, many police officers have contacted us thanking us, but very few would go on the record criticizing the new system that is rapidly undoing their hard work apprehending criminals and keeping their communities safe.
One police officer, a detective who has had enough of the hardened criminals his department arrests being let back into public hours after an arrest wanted New Jersey to know the other side of bail reform.
After the editorial board of the Star Ledger defended bail reform and blamed only a judge for the release of a two-time Little Egg Harbor Township child sexual assault offender, this detective had enough.
He did share with us his name and asked us to publish his name, but because of our knowledge of a recent gag order the Attorney General of New Jersey, we’ve decided not to publish his name or department. Police officers, courts, prosecutors and every level of law enforcement agencies have been under pressure to “go with the flow” on the very broken bail reform system.