Cash Bail System Ended In San Francisco by Federal Judge

A Federal Judge has struck down the cash bail system in San Francisco for suspects arrested but not yet arraigned in criminal cases.

From CBS San Francisco:

“U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said a bail schedule set by San Francisco Superior Court “bears no relation to the government’s interests in enhancing public safety and ensuring court appearance” and “significantly denies plaintiffs their fundamental right to liberty.”

“It merely provides a ‘Get Out of Jail’ card for anyone with sufficient means to afford it,” the judge wrote.

She ruled in a civil rights lawsuit filed in 2015 by two women who were arrested on charges of grand theft and assault, held in jail for one or two days because they couldn’t pay bail and then released after the district attorney decided not to file charges. One of them lost her job.

Former detainees Riana Buffin and Crystal Patterson argued money bail was unfair because wealthy arrestees could pay their way out of jail.”

The ruling only applies to pre-arraignment detainees in San Francisco County, but is just one of several challenges to the cash bail system currently working their way through the courts. The California Supreme Court is in the process of reviewing a Court of Appeals decision requiring judges to take a defendant’s economic status into consideration before assessing the need for bail.

A full copy of the initiating Civil Rights case for the San Francisco ruling (CA N USDC is 4:15-cv-04959) can be found HERE.

If you have any questions about access to the San Francisco Superior Court, the California State and Supreme Courts, or you would like more information about any of our other products and services, contact us at or give us a call: 866-643-7084 (Option 2).

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