CA Ballot Measure Aims To Reduce Penalties, Sentences For Certain Crimes

October 19, 2014

When Californians go to the polls this November they’ll be doing more than casting votes for politicians; they’ll be weighing in on Prop. 47, a ballot measure that proposes to lessen the penalties on certain felony crimes.

Prop. 47

Supporters say it’s a win-win for the state and the general public because it will improve public safety.

They also say it will help ease the burden at California jails and prisons, which have been struggling to deal with growing inmate populations without having the adequate bed space to hold them.

Another component of the ballot measure proposes Read more »

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Lawyers Express Concern Over High Bail Amounts

October 16, 2014

San Joaquin County Bail

It’s no great secret that San Joaquin bail amounts have been steadily climbing.

Not only is bail for some charges set far higher than in other parts of the state, local defense attorneys have started to express concern that the situation is getting out of hand.

Law scales on table in front black background. Symbol of justice

Many have said they feel the county bail schedule is downright unfair and it places an unfair burden on moderate and low income families.

Impossible to post bail?

In the state of California, the cost to hire a bondsman is 10% of the defendant’s total bail amount, but at the San Joaquin County Jail, in some cases, that Read more »

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What’s Next for Criminal Justice and Wearable Technology

September 12, 2014

Wearable technology for the wrist

Crime Prevention?

Wearable technology is hot right now: Google Glass, iWatch, iRing, Samsung Gear, fitbit… we want it all.

And so does the criminal justice system.

The idea of monitoring defendants, probationers or parolees with GPS devices has been around for years. Even with there problems, these devices help tabs on locations of people.

So what’s new:  possibly preventing crimes.

Statistics show that nearly 50 percent of the nation’s prosecuted gun violence incidents are committed by Read more »

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Lawsuit Against Riverside County Jails Starts To Escalate

September 8, 2014

Sources close to the Riverside County Jails say a recent lawsuit that was filed against the detention facilities for alleged “inhumane medical treatment” to inmates has officially reached class-action status.

A District Court Judge has found that the suit can extend beyond the initial seven plaintiffs and can include anyone who has ever been held in any of the Riverside jails.

Riverside county jail lawsuit presses on

A spokesperson from a prisoner rights group points out the litigation now encompasses the jail healthcare system as a whole;  Riverside’s problems just tot a heck of a lot bigger.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the problem has been systematic, ongoing and has been going on for years.

The lawsuit states that inmates’ constitutional rights were violated because Read more »

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Will The New Kern County Jail Be Too Expensive To Run?

September 2, 2014

Earlier this week, the County Board of Supervisors met to hammer out next year’s fiscal budget, which is believed to top out at more than $2 billion.

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Although some residents are pushing for the supes to increase funding for things like libraries and education, other elected officials say that’s going to be a tough stretch, especially since the county just dropped $26 million to make sure the Read more »

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Keeping The Peace

August 29, 2014

What Do You Do When Approached By An Officer?

Officer At A Car STopHere we are, the official last weekend of summer. I don’t know about you, but I get overrun with all the “bad news” in the world.

Just this week, I posted about police militarization and the deadliest holidays on America’s roads.

Thankfully, yesterday I came across a positive thought from my friend and local criminal defense attorney Doug Ridley on what to do when you interact with a Peace Officer.

It’s easy to forget with all the bad news that old adage I remember learning in elementary school: An officer is your friend. These folks are not only human beings, but they are somebody’s parent, somebody’s kid and lots of people’s friends.

Here’s Mr. Ridley’s insights:

  • Do Not Appear Threatening – Believe it or not, Read more »

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Back to School: Bail Beginnings and Change

August 29, 2014

A History Lesson

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Lately bail reform has been in the news, but really this isn’t new news.

Bail has been a part of the US practically from the beginning. In the late 1790s the US Congress decided that anyone who had not been accused of a crime punishable by death should be granted the option of posting bail.

Changes came a little more than 100 years later, when lawmakers felt bail amounts were too closely tied to the defendant’s ability to pay and the crime they were accused of committing.

In the middle part of the twentieth century another round of changes were handed down.  That’s when the US Supreme Court deemed that bail may not be excessive, although it could be set in line with the type of crime that was committed.

A decade later, Congress started to put together guidelines for the bail system to make sure financially strapped defendants weren’t unjustly held for no other reason than lacking the ability to pay.

And then, in the 1980s,  courts were given the authorization to set and /or deny bail based on whether the person in custody was considered to be a risk to society.

Bail reform in New Jersey

Lawmakers in the Garden State Read more »

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CA Jail Realignmet Leads To Spike In Early Releases

August 19, 2014

The jail crowding that has been brought on by the CA prisoner realignment program has become so bad that in some cases, county detention centers are turning people away without even taking the time to book them.

Why?  There isn’t enough room at the inn to house additional bodies.

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The recent statistics are staggering; the problem has become so bad that jails are releasing more than 13,000 inmates each month just to keep from busting at the seams.  This is a nearly 35 percent increase from Read more »

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NJ Gov. Signs Off On Bail Reform Legislation

August 13, 2014

After weeks of talking about the need for bail bonds reform,  Gov. Chris Christie finally put his pen where his mouth in.

Earlier this week, he signed a bill that allows for a complete overhaul of the state’s bail rules.   Christie feels these changes will make the state’s criminal justice system more effective.

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The new reforms, he said, will help ensure that communities are protected from the most violent of offenders, and that people who are accused of non-violent crimes don’t stay stuck behind bars for extended periods of time.  Judges can now Read more »

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Is Bail Reform Needed?

August 4, 2014

Late last week, the NJ state senate passed two proposals set forth by Gov. Chris Christie.

The bail system is broken according to Governor Christie.  If someone is accused of a crime and can’t afford to post bail bonds, they’ll be stuck behind bars until their case is over amounting to “debtors prison”.

Christie is also worried it’s causing innocent people to plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit so they can get released for time served.

Scales of Justice

 

Many in the legislature seem to agree, but they also feel there are significant details to be worked out.

It seems like Governor Christie needs additional education in bail.

The state assembly is set to look at the proposal on Tuesday.  It’s still unclear whether they’ll pass or veto what’s being put on the table.

Two Proposals

One of the two proposals up for vote Read more »

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