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Daily Action: Urge Local DAs to Get on Board with Bail Reform

Gregory Totten, Ventura County District Attorney
Phone: 805-654-2500
Email form
Address: Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Justice, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Suite 314, Ventura, CA 93009

Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles County District Attorney
 (213) 974-3512
Address: Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, 211 West Temple Street, Suite 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Sample script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent in _______________, California. I am calling/writing to urge the District Attorney to support SB 10, the California Money Bail Reform Act. Too many prosecutors are standing in the way of reforms to our broken system of imposing bail, which allows wealthy defendants to be released even if they pose a threat to the public, while poorer defendants who pose no threat remain locked up. This system makes us less safe; in fact, it jeopardizes our safety by causing people to lose their jobs, housing and stability. It also costs us taxpayers far more to keep accused persons locked up even when they pose no threat to public safety, rather than allowing them to live their lives while awaiting trial. Thank you!

Consensus has been building across California, and across the nation, that our money bail system is antiquated and broken -- as our recent Daily Action argued. Still, the state’s elected prosecutors, both individually and through the California District Attorneys Association, have been undermining reform efforts. Prosecutors have helped drive the inequities of our bail system, asking judges to impose unrealistic bail amounts in order to secure lengthy pretrial detentions -- often in order to coerce guilty pleas from people understandably desperate to secure their freedom. 

Pressure to act on reform increased in January when California's First District Court of Appeal ruled that defendants’ 14th Amendment rights are violated when they are detained before trial without critical due process protections. But Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten recently joined a brief filed by the CDAA that asked the state Supreme Court to “depublish” that appellate decision. Meanwhile, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has publicly announced her opposition to SB 10, which would enable California to follow the example of other states that now use risk assessment, rather than monetary demands, to determine whether a person should be released before trial.