Tell California Judges: Stop setting high bail amounts

In partnership with Essie Justice Group, Color of Change is calling on the California Judicial Council to issue guidance to judges to stop setting high bails.

Right now, thousands of Black women in California are disproportionately being held pretrial simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. But these judges have the power to put a stop to it. 

Approximately 44,241 people are locked in cages across county jails in California. These people haven’t been convicted or sentenced for a crime. Unsurprisingly, Black and brown people bear the brunt of this unjust system. in Los Angeles County, where Black people make up only 9% of the overall population, Black women make up a third (33%) of the population of the women’s jail. Most of these women are being held pretrial, and the crisis has gotten even worse throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people have been forced to wait more than 5 years for a trial — that’s 5 years separated from loved ones, friends, and community members all because they can’t afford to pay bail. 

Let’s get one thing clear, no one should have to sit in a jail cell because they are too poor to pay bail. The harms of pretrial detention reverberate beyond the accused person, often leading to a heightened risk of loss of a job, housing, or custody of children, and increased risk of future arrest.  

Judges have not been following constitutional law, and as a result, Black people without resources are being held pretrial with sometimes life-risking consequences. 

Sign the petition. California judges must act NOW to ensure our communities won’t continue to be subjected to the harmful and constitutional practice of issuing high bail amounts. 

See the letter that will be sent to the California Judicial Council:  

Please go to Sign the Petition !

Here is the Petition:

“As a public official, you have the power to put an end to the unconstitutional practice of issuing bail beyond what someone can afford to pay. As you know, the California Supreme Court recently held in the landmark case In re Humphrey that it is unconstitutional for judges to set bail beyond someone’s ability to pay as a way to keep them in jail pretrial.

Nevertheless, judges across the state have continued to issue astronomical bail amounts, which disproportionately harm poor Black people. 

We’re calling on judges in California to commit to the following: 
1. Judges follow In re Humphrey and stop setting bail beyond someone’s ability to pay as a way to keep them in jail pretrial. Judges must promptly hold hearings on renewed bail motions from individuals in jail whose bail was set prior to the Humphrey decision.

2. Every judge across the state must determine a person’s ability to pay before setting bail and people should not have to bear any costs associated with conditions of their release.

3. Denying bail altogether should only be allowed in the extraordinary cases listed in Article 1, Section 12 of the California Constitution. Judges must consider all non-monetary alternatives to detention before denying someone of their freedom before a trial. The burden is on the State to prove by clear and convincing evidence that pretrial detention is necessary; it is not the individual’s burden to show that she should be released.

Protect the House Majority and our Fight for Progress and Justice in Congress

Jim and House Democrats are fighting to build back our country stronger and more equitably than before by expanding broadband, making health care more affordable, protecting and expanding voting rights, and ensuring opportunity for every American. 

But all of our progress will be lost if we lose the House, and Republicans only need five seats to take back the Majority.

Contribute today to help protect and expand Democrats’ House Majority.


history… may 12

1588 – King Henry III fled Paris after Henry of Guise triumphantly entered the city.

1780 – Charleston, South Carolina fell to British forces.

1847 – William Clayton invented the odometer.

1870 – Manitoba entered the Confederation as a Canadian province.

1881 – Tunisia, in North Africa became a French protectorate.

1885 – In the Battle of Batoche, French Canadians rebelled against the Canadian government.

1888 – Charles Sherrill of the Yale track team became the first runner to use the crouching start for a fast break in a foot race.

1926 – The airship Norge became the first vessel to fly over the North Pole.

1926 – In Britain, a general strike by trade unions ended. The strike began on May 3, 1926.

1937 – Britain’s King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

1940 – The Nazi conquest of France began with the German army crossing Muese River.

1942 – The Soviet Army launched its first major offensive of World War II and took Kharkov in the eastern Ukraine from the German army.

1943 – The Axis forces in North Africa surrendered during World War II.

1949 – The Soviet Union announced an end to the Berlin Blockade.

1950 – The American Bowling Congress abolished its white males-only membership restriction after 34 years.

1957 – A.J. Foyt won his first auto racing victory in Kansas City, MO.

1965 – West Germany and Israel exchanged letters establishing diplomatic relations.

1970 – Ernie Banks, of the Chicago Cubs, hit his 500th home run.

1975 – U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez was seized by Cambodian forces in international waters.

1978 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that they would no longer exclusively name hurricanes after women.

1982 – South Africa unveiled a plan that would give voting rights to citizens of Asian and mixed-race descent, but not to blacks.

1984 – South African prisoner Nelson Mandela saw his wife for the first time in 22 years.

1999 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin dismissed Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and named Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin as his successor.

2002 – Former U.S. President Carter arrived in Cuba for a visit with Fidel Castro. It was the first time a U.S. head of state, in or out of office, had gone to the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.

2003 – In Texas, fifty-nine Democratic lawmakers went into hiding over a dispute with Republican’s over a congressional redistricting plan.

2008 – In the U.S., the price for a one-ounce First-Class stamp increased from 41 to 42 cents.

2015 – It was announced that Verizon would be acquiring AOL.