$0 bail emergency rule to end June 20, votes Judicial Council

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — The California Judicial Council announced Wednesday that it had voted to end the $0 Bail Emergency Rule after taking place in April.

The council voted 17-2 to rescind the COVID-19 temporary bail schedule that set a presumptive bail amount at $0 for people accused of lower-level crimes.

“We can get back to some normal business,” said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. “So I think that’s a very healthy step forward, and all of us here in law enforcement are excited for that.”

Boudreaux said the zero bail policy created challenges for law enforcement over the past few months, even allowing repeat-offenders to be set free.

In Fresno County, a man arrested after a high-speed chase was released on zero-bail, only to be involved in another pursuit the following week.

There was also a similar situation in Tulare County.

“We did have a gentleman that not only was arrested for being in a stolen car after a police chase, within two hours he was in another stolen car in another police chase, came back in, he was released, and within two days, he was in another stolen car with another police chase,” said Boudreaux.

However, Criminal Defense Attorney David Mugridge said going back to the previous bail system may not be the best move.

“The fact that we were able to survive as a society for the recent months without having the bail set maybe should cause people to question whether or not we need to go back to a bail to begin with,” said Mugridge.

He said the standard bail policies only contribute to the economic divide in our legal system.

“There is no question that when you have an individual that can’t afford to bail out that there is a constitutional implication there. Is it right? Is it fair?” asked Mugridge.

The zero bail policy will come to an end on June 20, but the California Judicial Council warned it may be put back in place if health conditions worsen.

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