California Attorney General Xavier Becerra stated that his office defends bail determinations that take into account what the defendant can afford to pay¹ and whether there are alternatives to holding them in jail before trial. As Attorney General would you likewise refuse to defend bail settings undertaken without meaningful consideration of a defendant’s ability to pay and alternatives to wealth-based pretrial detention?
I would have to study the issue more carefully, and each specific case is different. But as a preliminary matter, I agree that setting bail without meaningful consideration of a defendant’s ability to pay—and not based on a threat to public safety or being a flight risk—raises serious due process issues. To avoid such an outcome, I will work hard in the legislature to improve our system of bail.