On Wednesday, California’s judicial council voted to end a policy that saw thousands of misdemeanor and lower-level felony suspects released across the state.
The policy, called the “$0 bail rule,” was one of 11 temporary emergency rules imposed by the council in mid-April to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among jail populations. Its repeal will go into effect on June 20.
Individual counties can choose to maintain the $0 bail rule, though Calaveras County Superior Court Presiding Judge Timothy Healy has not stated any intention to do so.
Yet the county’s district attorney, Barbara Yook, told the Enterprise on Friday that the policy will continue to negatively impact the work of her office for “weeks to come.”
Under the $0 bail rule, 45 county jail inmates were released, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. Their release led to 52 run-ins with law enforcement, including reports of car chases, burglaries and stalking. Eleven of those released were arrested again, some of whom were released a second time.
“The policy clearly jeopardized the safety of our community,” Yook said.
Along with Sheriff Rick DiBasilio, Yook also spoke out against the policy before its repeal.
“Additionally, the Calaveras County Superior Court places artificial limits on the number of out-of-custody cases that can be filed,” she said on Friday. “Those limits cause unnecessary work and are contrary to the interests of public safety, and the $0 bail rule compounded those negative impacts to the criminal justice system.”
Although $0 bail has been repealed, bail amounts will not be re-evaluated by a judge unless there is a change in circumstances, such as a new arrest, Yook said.