Senate Bill 262 (Amended 8/3/21) Takes Away Local Control and Creates a Criminal Justice Disaster
Against the will of 9 million California voters, State Senator Hertzberg has substantially amended SB 262 on August 30, 2021, to create a Sacramento-knows-best, one-size-fits-all criminal justice disaster.
Common sense says AB 262 makes no sense.
- SB 262 takes away local control from counties and cities to fight specific crimes they may want to focus on. With a population of 1,100 people, Alpine County doesn’t have the same crime problems as Los Angeles County or San Francisco.
- SB 262 requires that the Judicial Council create a statewide bail schedule taking away the authority and power from locally elected judges who have a better understanding of local issues and crime waves.
- When creating the statewide bail schedule, SB 262 prohibits the consideration of bail enhancements and aggravating factors like use of a gun, victimizing a child or elderly person or inflicting great bodily injury, which includes mutilating victims by throwing acid in their faces or burning them.
- SB 262 ignores the California Judicial County bail study (Pretrial Pilot Program, July 9, 2021), which found that out of nearly 3,000 criminal defendants, “30 percent failed to appear in court as required and 40 percent were arrested for a new offense.”
- SB 262 ignores the failures of similar bail legislation in other states. This type of bail legislation has been a disaster in other states – Alaska and New York substantially rolled their bail reform back, and Utah repealed it completely.
- SB 262’s 2/3rds urgency clause will bankrupt and cause chaos in local trial courts. California’s local court system does not have the money, staff, facilities, or procedures to conduct lengthy bail hearings (mini court trails) required for EVERY arrestee to determine “ability to pay” and whether money bail would cause “substantial hardship.”
- SB 262 violates the State Constitution – Proposition 103. The California Supreme Court found in Amwest Surety Ins. Co. v. Wilson (1995) (11 Cal.4th 1243) that any rate setting, or rate reduction, must comply with the California Insurance Commissioner’s duty in determining if action on an insurance rate “results in a confiscatory rate,” which is not permitted. (Id. at 1262.) The Court noted that the Commissioner is required to ensure that a “rate provided a fair and reasonable return on the insurer’s investment.” (Id.) Any legislative action that interferes with the Commissioner’s duty in this respect “fails to further the purposes of Proposition 103” and thus, cannot be validly enacted. (Id. at 1263.)