California high court: Judges must weigh ability to pay bail

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Don Thompson The Associated Press The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday, March 25, that judges must consider suspects’ ability to pay when they set bail, essentially requiring that indigent defendants be freed unless they are deemed too dangerous to be released awaiting trial. “The common practice of conditioning freedom solely on whether an arrestee can afford bail is unconstitutional,” the justices said in a unanimous decision. Judges can require electronic monitoring, regular check-ins with authorities or order suspects to stay in shelters or undergo drug and alcohol treatment, Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar said on behalf of the court – conditions that “in many cases protect public and victim safety as well as assure the arrestee’s appearanc
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