BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 805
          Author:   Jones-Sawyer (D)
          Amended:  As introduced
          Vote:     21


           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 5/14/13
          AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, Block, De León, Knight, Liu, Steinberg

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  77-0, 4/18/13 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Bail

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill provides that a judge or magistrate may  
          consider the report prepared by investigative staff for the  
          purpose of recommending whether or not a defendant should be  
          released on his/her own recognizance.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:
           
           1.Provides that in setting, reducing, or denying bail, the judge  
            or magistrate shall take into consideration the protection of  
            the public, the seriousness of the offense charged, the  
            previous criminal record of the defendant, and the probability  
            of his/her appearing at trial or hearing of the case.  The  
            public safety shall be the primary consideration.

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          2.Provides that in considering the seriousness of the offense  
            charged, the judge or magistrate shall include consideration  
            of the alleged injury to the victim, and alleged threats to  
            the victim or a witness to the crime charged, the alleged use  
            of a firearm or other deadly weapon in the commission of the  
            crime charged, and the alleged use or possession of controlled  
            substances by the defendant.

          3.Provides that before a court reduces bail below the amount  
            established by the bail schedule approved for the county for a  
            person charged with a serious felony or a violent felony, the  
            court shall make a finding of unusual circumstances and set  
            forth those facts on the record.

          4.Authorizes a court, with the concurrence of the board of  
            supervisors, to employ an investigative staff for the purpose  
            of recommending whether a defendant should be released on  
            his/her own recognizance.

          5.Provides that any person released on bail who is charged with  
            or convicted of a felony who thereafter willfully fails to  
            appear is guilty of an alternate felony-misdemeanor and shall  
            be punished by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars  
            ($10,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more  
            than one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

          This bill provides that in setting bail, a judge or magistrate  
          may consider the report prepared by investigative staff for the  
          purpose of recommending whether a defendant should be released  
          on his/her own recognizance.

           Background
           
          Statutory law provides a process whereby the court may set a  
          bail amount for a criminal defendant.  Additionally, Section 12  
          of Article 1 of the California Constitution provides, with  
          limited exceptions, that a criminal defendant has a right to  
          bail and what conditions shall be taken into consideration in  
          setting bail.  A defendant may post bail by depositing cash or  
          an equivalent form of currency, provide a security in real  
          property, or undertake bail using a bail bond.

          The bail bond is the most likely means by which a person posts  
          bail.  A bail bond is essentially a contract that provides the  

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          court with a guarantee that the defendant will appear for a  
          hearing or trial.  A defendant pays a licensed bail agent a  
          percentage of the total amount of bail ordered as a  
          non-refundable fee - often an amount in the range of 10%.  The  
          bail agent then contracts with a surety company to issue a bail  
          bond - essentially, an insurance policy.  The bond is issued  
          providing that if the defendant fails to appear, the county will  
          receive the full amount of bail set by the court.  The bond is  
          provided to the court and, if accepted, the defendant is  
          released.  As designed, the bail system often allows the court  
          to rely on the private sector to ensure appearances and provide  
          a means for the county to be made whole in the event that a  
          person fails to appear.

          While the main purpose of a bail bond is to provide some  
          assurance that a defendant will return to court to resolve the  
          pending charges, courts also consider the danger a released  
          defendant will pose to the public or specific persons.   Bail is  
          set through a bail schedule that lists preset amounts of bail  
          for various crimes.  A committee of judges in each county  
          promulgates the bail schedule for that county.  A defendant or  
          the prosecution can move the judge presiding over a particular  
          case to raise or lower the amount of bail, or the defendant can  
          request release on his/her own recognizance.  Additional  
          statutory rules apply if the defendant is charged with a serious  
          felony or domestic violence.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  
           No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/15/13)

          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          Golden State Bail Agents Association
          Peace Officers Research Association of California
          Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  5/15/13)

          Aladdin Bail Bonds

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to Golden State Bail Agents  
          Association (GSBAA):


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               GSBAA supports AB 805 because it clarifies that judges can  
               use risk assessment reports in setting, reducing or denying  
               bail.  Currently, there is confusion as to whether these  
               risk assessment reports can only be used to determine a  
               defendant's suitability for release on his/her own  
               recognizance (OR).  Bail and OR are both forms of pretrial  
               release and while bail is a more secure form of pretrial  
               release, all forms of pretrial release are concerned with  
               the same risk factors, e.g. the risk of the defendant  
               failing to appear in court and/or reoffending while on  
               pretrial release.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    According to Aladdin Bail Bonds:

               AB 805, as it is premised on the false assumption that  
               pretrial service programs are effective.  As a result, your  
               bill will create a serious public safety threat if judges  
               rely on pretrial service reports in setting or reducing  
               bail.

               The simple fact is that bail works.  It is by far the most  
               effective mechanism for ensuring that defendants return to  
               court so that criminal justice system can work efficiently.  
                And best of all, it is absolutely free to taxpayers.   
               Moreover, the investigation and underwriting process used  
               by reputable companies in the bail industry helps to  
               prevent violent tragedies.  Before writing bail bonds for  
               defendants, bail companies establish a network of involved  
               and caring family members and friends, all of whom work  
               together with the bail agent to ensure the defendant not  
               only returns to court, but does not reoffend in the  
               interim.


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  77-0, 4/18/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Blumenfield, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown,  
            Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway,  
            Cooley, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fong, Fox,  
            Frazier, Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell,  
            Gray, Grove, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Jones,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Logue, Maienschein, Mansoor,  
            Medina, Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi,  
            Nazarian, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, V. Manuel  

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          5

            Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Stone,  
            Ting, Torres, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk,  
            Williams, Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Holden, Lowenthal, Vacancy


          JG:ej  5/15/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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