SAN FRANCISCO—A U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland ruled against the use of money bail for people who are arrested in San Francisco on suspicion of crimes, but haven’t yet been arraigned on Monday, March 4.
Rogers indicated a bail schedule set up by San Francisco Superior Court “bears no relation to the government’s interests in enhancing public safety and ensuring court appearance” and “significantly denies plaintiffs their fundamental right to liberty.” The bail schedule “merely provides a ‘Get Out of Jail’ card for anyone with sufficient means to afford it,” said Rogers.
Rogers announced she would issue an injunction, after reviewing opposing arguments in the case, that will require San Francisco to adopt new rules for freeing defendants after their arrest. She ruled in a civil rights lawsuit filed in 2015 by two women who were arrested on charges of grand theft and assault, and held in jail up to two days because they couldn’t pay bail. They were later released after the district attorney decided not to file charges. One of the women lost her job as a result of being in jail.
California voters will vote in 2020 whether to abolish cash bail statewide and allow a judge to decide whether a defendant can be released until formal charges and a trial occurs.