California bail reform bill clears first hurdle

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KGO) -- A bill to reform California's bail system passed a key committee in the state capitol. It gives poorer people a break if they can't afford bail.

EXCLUSIVE: Hillsborough murder suspect posts $60M in property for bail

The debate got more heated after it was announced Wednesday that Tiffany Li, a wealthy Hillsborough woman posted a $35 million bond to get out of jail.

"I do see the wealthy getting advantages that I do not believe should exist just because of their wealth," said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Wagstaffe points to the high-profile murder case in Hillsborough where defendant Tiffany Li will make her $35 million bail by posting $70 million in properties, double the amount as required by law.

Her two co-defendants are awaiting trial in jail because they cannot make bail.

EXCLUSIVE: Hillsborough murder suspect attempts to post $35M in property for bail

That kind of disparity may change if a bail reform bill, which cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday becomes law.

Its authors say the bill will do away with a system that punishes those arrested for being poor.

San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Chesa Boudin served on the ACLU's advisory committee, which helped craft the legislation. "Absolutely, it's a system that inherently and explicitly biased in favor of the wealthy and against the poor," he said.

If it becomes law, counties would conduct pre-trial assessments just after someone's arrest to determine if he or she should be detained in jail.

TIMELINE: Peninsula murder mystery: Death of Millbrae resident Keith Green

"Judges would be required to use risk assessments, technology algorithm to determine risk of flight and risk of new criminal activity," Boudin told ABC7 News.

Santa Clara County has already started its own bail reform utilizing risk assessments. This, after a two-year review headed by supervisor Cindy Chavez.

Click here for full coverage on the investigation into the death of Millbrae father Keith Green.
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