/ 6.12.20

California Ends “Zero Bail” Policy

Written by: Doug Ridley

Judicial Council Votes to Rescind Emergency Bail Schedule

On June 10, the Judicial Council of California voted 17-2 to rescind the COVID-19 emergency bail schedule. The policy would end on June 20, according to the Council’s News Release. The relief measure went into effect on March 20, pursuant to Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye’s Advisory regarding the pandemic.

The emergency relief measures were put in place in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in jails and surrounding communities. According to the June 10 release, the emergency bail schedule was successful, resulting in a significant reduction in California’s jail population. Over 20,000 offenders were allotted pre-trial release under the “zero bail” policy.

The advisory put forth by the Chief Justice allowed counties on an emergency basis to revise countywide bail schedules. Bail could be set to $0 for misdemeanors (except those listed under Penal Code section 1270.1) and lower-level felonies, resulting in the release of tens of thousands of individuals awaiting trial. The release aided in relieving some pressure on the courts to hold arraignments within 48 hours of their arrest and preliminary hearings within ten (10) days.

The Chief Justice also rescinded the arraignment extension provision of her March 30 order. Under that provision, courts were allowed to extend the 48-hour arraignment requirement to not more than seven (7) days. The arraignment extension provision is set to end on June 20. Penal Code Section 825, requires that defendants be taken before a magistrate (judge) within 48 hours of their arrest. 

The Judicial Council notes that they “may re-institute these measures if health conditions worsen or change.” Counties throughout the State have adopted emergency measures as necessary to meet the health and safety concerns caused by the pandemic.


As we all continue to navigate these uncharted waters following the outbreak of COVID-19, Ridley Defense is dedicated to providing you up-to-date information regarding the courts and changes to criminal case procedures. Our leading criminal defense attorneys are in constant communication with prosecutors, judges, and court staff to keep you abreast of the ever-changing situation.

Our office is here to help you and your family during these extraordinary times. Now more than ever, you need an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process, always advocating to get you the best possible outcome in your case. 

Contact Ridley Defense today for a complimentary consultation at (805) 208-1866.

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