August 16, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: How The Rampaging Virus Led To No-bail Policy

By Tom Elias, Yo! Venice Columnist

First there were the “geriatric police,” cops who occasionally stopped senior citizens near the beginning of this spring’s coronavirus pandemic and told them to get home and stay home, with no one quite sure what right they had to enforce such a condescending, age-discriminating policy, however well-meant.

Then Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti threatened to institute “neighborhood police,” saying if the folks who elected him don’t behave in ways he pronounces good for them, he’ll force them not to go outside their neighborhoods for an indefinite period.

These were both the result of decrees stemming from emergency powers the Constitution grants public officials for use only in times of extreme emergency.

No one responsibly suggests this spring has not been a time of public health emergency. Hospitals have been crammed with victims of the rogue coronavirus. Convention centers and basketball arenas were converted into temporary hospitals.

Death and disease tolls are totted up daily in ways unseen since the Vietnam War, and in numbers exponentially higher than even those myriad casualties.

That means many measures taken under emergency rules are justified. Then come edicts in other categories. Where, for example, did Gov. Gavin Newsom get the power to authorize state Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and the California Judicial Council to change this state’s bail laws, as he did without so much as a token public hearing or Zoom social media session?

Of all the many measures state and local officials imposed on tens of millions of Californians, none appears to have less legal justification than this one.

Few would seriously protest other measures the court system adopted on its own, even if there were no checks or balances on its choices. Defendants now can appear by remote technologies for pretrial criminal hearings. Time frames are extended for many temporary restraining orders. Electronic depositions are now OK in civil lawsuits. Courts have given up for the nonce their power to make eviction orders, no matter the cause.

These are mostly matters of judicial procedure, and the more sophisticated electronics become, the less some of these measures appear to intrude on basic American rights.

But then there are bail bonds. Among the changes the Judicial Council made without a peep from Newsom was a statewide emergency measure forbidding judges to set bail in any but the most serious felonies, like murder and rape. For misdemeanors and so-called “lower level” felonies, including child abuse, there now will be no bail required.

The justification is a desire to thin out jail populations and create for inmates something like the social distancing enforced on the rest of the populace. The thinking: without such distancing, jails can become like petri dishes where the virus might infect and kill prisoners in droves.

But bail itself is a matter of hot public debate, a policy issue on which Newsom took sides last year when he signed a bill ending bail for virtually all criminal defendants. Immediately, the bail bond industry raised millions of dollars and qualified a referendum for November’s ballot that would rescind that law. Once the measure qualified for the ballot, the law was put in limbo, and bail remained as before, pending the voters’ say-so this fall.

Now, the proposed new policy is getting a trial run without even one public hearing. If crime rises in this time of myriad empty stores and offices, voters will quickly realize that no-bail is bad public policy. If there are no new problems from the “minor” criminals who will be given their freedom pending trial, then it’s possible public sentiment, which previously favored keeping the old bail system, will turn around to register a ‘no’ vote on the referendum.

Whatever the outcome, no one can seriously challenge the court system’s new rules, if only because of this classic Catch-22: the only place for such a challenge would be the very court system that set those rules.

All of which raises legitimate questions about just how much democracy Californians ought to be willing to cede even during emergencies that inevitably arise in a state subject to frequent earthquakes and wildfires.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

1930s Venice Bungalow Revamp Nearly Complete

August 15, 2022

August 15, 2022

Palms Penmar Ranch development almost done By Dolores Quintana A project to revamp a collection of 1930s bungalows in Venice...

Column: Time to Crack Down on Vacant Homes’ Owners

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist ​​There is no doubt California has a housing shortage. That’s fact even in the wake of...

Metro To Hold Community Meetings About Potential Green Line Extension

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Los Angeles Metro is holding a series of public meetings to discuss extending the Metro C or...

Anne Heche Dies Following Mar Vista Crash

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

Actress dies at 53 due to injuries sustained in August 5 crash By Sam Catanzaro Anne Heche has died at...

Anne Heche Not Expected to Survive Following Fiery Mar Vista Crash

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

UPDATE: Anne Heche has died at 53 from injuries sustained in a Mar Vista car crash last week. https://yovenice.com/2022/08/12/anne-heche-dies-following-mar-vista-crash/ Representatives...

Column: Iconic Legislative Leader Seeks to Represent West LA on County Board of Supervisors

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

Senator Bob Hertzberg plans to use his political capital to address homelessness, housing, public safety, jobs, and other quality-of-life concerns...

Inglewood Marine Wildlife Companies Plead Guilty to Unlawfully Importing Live Corals from Vietnam

August 11, 2022

August 11, 2022

Renaissance Aquatics Inc. and Lim Aqua-Nautic Specialist Inc. each pleaded guilty to two felony counts of unlawfully importing live coral...

LA City Council Approves Expanded Anti-Camping Ordinance

August 11, 2022

August 11, 2022

Bonin one of three not votes in expansion of LAMC section 41.18 Los Angeles City Council has banned homeless encampments...

Review: A Santa Monica Restaurant’s New Happy Hour is Top-Notch

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Birdie G’s in Santa Monica has a new Happy Hour and it is something special. For one...

Former Tennis Player Opens Venice Boardwalk Restaurant

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

Pachamama now open at 1425 Ocean Front Walk By Dolores Quintana Pachamama is a new restaurant that has already started...

Best of Venice Awards Voting Now Open

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

Cast your vote to support your favorite local businesses  Voting is now open for Yo! Venice’s annual Best of Venice...

Column: ​​Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Endorses Traci Park for City Council, First Major, Post Primary Nod for the Venice Challenger!

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

By Nick Antonicello In what can be regarded as the first major, post primary endorsement by a significant Los Angeles...

Lights Out: Venice Pier Is Dark as Ten of the Fifteen Lamp Posts Are Inoperable and Broke!

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

After millions invested in pier renovations, who will fix the lights? By Nick Antonicello How many government employees does it...

Venice Family Clinic to Provide Free Community Resources in Celebration of National Health Center Week

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

Nonprofit Community Health Center Offering Free COVID-19 Vaccines, Children’s Books, HIV Testing, Health Insurance Counseling, CalFresh Enrollment and More August...

LAPD Awaits Blood Tests Results on Anne Heche Following Mar Vista Crash That Destroyed Home

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Walgrove Avenue home goes up flames after Friday crash By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is awaiting...