John Kelly, while he walked this Earth, was a champion for restorative justice. No shrinking violet, he’d surely take a position on California ballot Proposition 25. He’d say around 70% of the residents of our local jails are “cooling their heels” not because convicted of anything but merely because they are stuck waiting for arraignment or trial. They are trapped in county jail, away from their family and jobs, simply because they can’t afford bail. With only a few dangerous exceptions, the majority of these detainees have committed misdemeanor offenses, are not dangerous and are likely to show up for their trials.

In January 2018, this obvious pretrial miscarriage of justice was planned to be remedied by the passage of California Senate Bill 10 scheduled to take effect October 2019. This measure eliminated cash bail and replaced it with an assessment of an offender’s likelihood of showing up for court or committing a crime.

Hyper-profitable bail bond businesses were not amused at the SB 10 law ending their gravy train. So they proceeded to qualify Proposition 25 to delay the fair SB 10 legislative solution until and  unless voters approved. Proposition 25 reinstates the reform law that treats rich and poor equally by eliminating cash bail. The bail bondsmen hope you will kill this needed reform and vote no.

There was no more vigorous defender of poor, usually-minority defendants than John Kelly.

Maybe I’m putting words into John’s mouth but I’m confident that he would shout for you, me and everybody to support Proposition 25 reinstating the law eliminating bail. Vote yes!

Tom Huening

San Mateo

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(1) comment

Dirk van Ulden

All one has to do is look at the situation in NYC where no bail was passed. The murder and assault rates skyrocketed. This whole idea that one can predict the action of a just-released criminal by using a formula is pure folly.

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