In the aftermath of the tragic Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre, I can’t help but to reflect on the bail reform efforts that have been ongoing in California.
Efforts that California Voters spoke against with their votes in 2020.
One must wonder if incidents like the one in Waukesha could have been prevented. The ramifications of this devastating event on Liberal/Progressive policies across the nation will be discussed for some time to come.
What Happened in Waukesha
On November 21, 2021, 39-year-old Darrell E. Brooks the driver of a SUV killed six people and injured 62 others when he hit and ran over unsuspecting participants at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Darrell E. Brooks, 39, has been officially charged with multiple counts of first-degree intentional homicide, according to the Waukesha County District Attorney's Office.
Darrell E. Brooks had been arrested twenty-one days prior to the Waukesha attack for hitting his ex-girlfriend with the same SUV during a domestic dispute.
He also had a long criminal history going back 20 years that included other violent offenses.
Brooks was out on $500 bond at the time of this mass casualty.
California’s Bail System in the Wake of Waukesha
Going against advocates to end cash bail such as Governor Gavin Newsom and other special interest groups, in November 2020, Californians voted to retain the cash bail system.
Despite the voters say in 2020, the courts ruled that defendants may no longer be detained just because they cannot afford to post bail.
"The common practice of conditioning freedom solely on whether an arrestee can afford bail is unconstitutional," "Other conditions of release — such as electronic monitoring, regular check-ins with a pretrial case manager, community housing or shelter, and drug and alcohol treatment" are often enough. Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.
California has had several high-profile instances of defendants out on no or low bail that have committed heinous acts.
One case recently occurred in Sacramento involving a parolee who was charged in the slaying of a Sacramento woman found dead along with her two slain dogs inside her burning home.
Family of slain Land Park woman says she was victim of California’s ‘zero bail’ policy- Fox News
51-year-old Troy Davis was released from prison following felony convictions in 2017 and 2018 for assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. Following his release, authorities say he committed more crimes in June 2021 and then was released again because of zero bail policies. -KRCR
El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson, the district attorneys association’s president, said lawmakers supporting changes to the bail system are “expressing sympathy toward prisoners instead of prioritizing public safety.”
Legislation regarding ending cash bail is being revised by the original author Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg who has said he will keep working for “a fair, safe and equitable bail system.”
In the wake of the recent tragedy currently in the nations spotlight, we can only hope any legislation that favors the continuing loosening of bail requirements in any way shape or form, will also include ample checks & balances so that law abiding citizens do not suffer deadly consequences like the massacre in Waukesha.
This has solely been my JADED OPINION. You are welcome to yours in the comments below. Should California continue it's efforts to end or reform cash bail?