Laphonza Butler Backed Abolishing Bail for Criminal Suspects in California

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14: Laphonza Butler speaks onstage during the Bans Off Our Bodies Rally on May 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Women's March)
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Women's March

Laphonza Butler, nominated to the United States Senate by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), backed a plan to abolish bail across California for criminal suspects.

In 2018, then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law SB 10 — a plan passed by Democrats in the California legislature to eliminate bail for criminal suspects across the state.

Under the law, nearly all suspects charged with misdemeanors would have been released from jail within 12 hours. Suspects charged with felonies would have been detained only after a judge used so-called “risk assessment” to determine if they would pose a danger to society pending trial.

In 2020, thanks to a statewide referendum, California voters rejected the plan by a more than 55 percent majority.

Butler — who has been nominated by Newsom to replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who died on Saturday — was a major backer of the plan while she served as an executive board member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

“Today is a turning point for justice in California, and SEIU members are proud to have helped lead the way in creating a safer state and moving California closer to our vision for restorative justice,” Butler said when Brown signed the plan into law.

Butler also suggested she wanted to see “even more sweeping reforms in the coming years” to California’s criminal justice system.

“By eliminating the discriminatory money bail system that preys on the poor and working people like SEIU members, SB 10 is a significant step forward in our movement for equality and civil rights,” Butler said at the time. “… as we celebrate this milestone in our march toward justice, members of SEIU are more energized than ever to keep fighting for equality throughout our criminal justice system.”

In cities and states that have eliminated bail for criminal suspects, crime has seemingly skyrocketed.

For example, in New York — which began imposing a similar bail reform law a few years ago — more than 72 percent of those charged with felony violent crimes went on to commit additional crimes after being released from jail.

In Yolo County, California — which previously had a $0 bail policy for a period of time — more than 70 percent of those released without bail went on to be arrested for additional crimes.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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