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California voters must approve law to end bail before trial

January 17, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The nation’s first law eliminating bail for suspects awaiting trial has been placed on hold while California voters decide whether to overturn it.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla says Wednesday a referendum that qualified for the 2020 ballot would overturn legislation signed last year by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.

The law would replace bail with a risk-assessment system — although it’s still unclear how it would work.

The law was scheduled to go into effect in October. Now it must be approved by voters before it can take effect.

Opponents say it gives judges too much power. Some worry dangerous people will go free and won’t return for trial.

Supporters say the change will end the unfair practice of imprisoning people simply because they are poor.

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