California Considers Reducing Bail to $0 For Some Offenses Amid Coronavirus Fears

Judicial Council of California to Rule on a Number of Emergency Measures

According to multiple news agencies, including ABC10, the Judicial Council of California has met to discuss and adopt several emergency rules in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to a Report of their meeting the council is discussing the following:

  • “Suspend the entry of defaults in unlawful detainer actions;
  • Suspend judicial foreclosures;
  • Provide remote appearance via technology;
  • Adopt a statewide emergency bail schedule that sets bail at $0 for most misdemeanor and lower-level felony offenses;
  • Provide for personal appearance through counsel for defendants in pretrial criminal proceedings;
  • Prioritize for juvenile dependency and juvenile delinquency proceedings various hearing and orders and set a structure for remote hearings and continuances;
  • Extend the timeframes for specified temporary restraining orders;
  • And adopt miscellaneous civil proposals including suspending the statutes of limitations governing civil actions.”

COVID-19 has brought California, the country and the world to a near screeching halt. As the virus spreads, the courts have had to make decisions to ensure the safety of their staff, attorneys, jurors, witnesses, victims, and defendants. Many courts have moved to tele-appearances or virtual appearances whenever possible and have postponed jury trials for 60 days. In addition, in order to assist in slowing the spread of the virus, law enforcement agencies across the state have released the number of inmates housed in their facilities. It is believed that adopting a statewide emergency bail schedule will further help to reduce the number of inmates held in custody and ease the burden on the court to have arraignments within 48 hours of their arrest.