Regarding the letter to the editor entitled "Cunningham: Talk to us about bail reform" (April 5), I appreciate the desire for transparency and the responsibility of elected officials to engage with the community on proposed legislation.
My office has met with Ms. Elie Axelroth and her organization multiple times. I have personally seen both sides of the bail system. I've argued in some cases for a defendant to be denied bail, protecting a victim from being terrorized by a threatening individual. In other cases, I have advocated for bail to be reduced so an individual can keep their job, home, and family intact. Under our current process, judges must evaluate every individualized bail determination on the grounds of danger to the community and flight risk.
The proposed law seeks to eliminate the bail system. This would involve the establishment of a pretrial services agency in each county to assess the risk of an arrested person's pretrial release. This would put public safety and crime victims at risk. It would impose considerable unfunded costs onto local governments for the establishment of the pretrial agencies. Without the incentive created by monetary bail, more felons would fail to appear in court and remain at large. This proposal, in my view, ultimately would make our communities less safe. That's why I opposed it last year and spoke against it on the Assembly floor. Unless the proposal is amended substantially, I will do so again.
My office welcomes hearing your concerns about any policy proposal before the Legislature. My office can be reached at (805) 549-3381.
Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham
35th Assembly District