Bail Industry Seeks Amendment to California Constitution
Constitutional Amendment Sought to Protect a Person’s Right to Bail
In an effort to protect a defendant’s right to bail, the California bail industry is seeking an amendment to the constitution. According to a recent article published by Capital Public Radio, if successful the proposed amendment to the Constitution would be put on the November 2020 ballot right along with the now halted SB 10. At the end of last year, opponents to SB 10 gathered enough signatures for a veto referendum which put the matter on hold until voters could decide on the 2020 ballot.
In a letter submitted to the Office of the Attorney General, proponents of the Constitutional Amendment are asking for a “title and summary” of the proposed measure. If successful on the 2020 ballot, Section 12 of Article I of the Constitution would be amended to include the “right to obtain release at all times before trial by posting bail.” The Constitution already prohibits excessive bail and does not require pretrial release for defendants charged with capital crimes, felony offenses involving acts of violence and felony offenses where the person has threatened great bodily harm. The amendment also requires that bail be set by a “speedy hearing.”
In order to get on the November 2020 ballot, advocates of the amendment must gather 1 million voter signatures. While this task may seem daunting, opponents of SB 10 gathered over half (576,822) when seeking a veto referendum. November 2020 is shaping up to be an interesting election month in California and around the Country.