Photo | Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons.

The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council supports zero bail for lower-level offenses

2022 Crime Editions January More News

By T.A. Hendrickson and Bill Hendrickson 

The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council has weighed in on an issue that is bound to be front and center in this year’s race for mayor of Los Angeles, namely, whether people accused of misdemeanors and lower-level felonies should be required to post cash bail to avoid pre-trial detention. Bail for such offenses has not been required in L.A. since March 2020. 

In a recent letter to the L.A. City Council, the ERNC firmly opposes an effort by Councilmember and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino (Council District 15) to reinstate bail.  

The vote by the ERNC to send the letter was 14-0 with one abstention.

Specifically, Buscaino has filed a resolution, seconded by John Lee (CD 12), requesting the City Council and Mayor to call on the State Legislature to pass a law reinstating cash bail throughout California.  A statewide law would override L.A.’s bail policies.  

The ERNC letter calls on Councilmember Kevin de León, who represents Eagle Rock and is also running for mayor, to support and advocate for a policy that permanently eliminates cash bail for most misdemeanors in L.A. 

As of Jan. 11, De León had not responded to the ERNC’s letter, according to ERNC President Richard Loew, who signed the letter. Nor did De León’s spokesperson respond to requests from the Boulevard Sentinel for a comment from De León on the letter.  

The letter points out errors and misdirection in the Buscaino resolution. For instance, the resolution links recent violent crime in L.A. to the elimination of cash bail — but violent crime has always been subject to cash bail and has never been covered by L.A.’s zero-bail policy for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.  

The letter also cites research showing that cash bail for low level offenses does not make the accused more likely to show up for trial. Rather, it forces people who cannot afford to post bail – generally people of color and the poor — to choose between pre-trial detention or pleading guilty in order to be released.  

Both options are bad. Accused persons who choose pretrial incarceration risk losing their jobs, housing, even custody of their children — outcomes that are often irreversible even if the charges are dropped or result in acquittal. Accused persons who plead guilty to secure their release have lifelong negative repercussion on employment, housing and social and economic opportunities.  

The letter also points out that the public is harmed when the accused are forced into pre-trial detainment by an inability to post bail. That’s because people who are detained pre-trial are more likely to commit future crimes than those who are able to bail out, according to research in the Stanford Law Review cited in the letter. “Rather than making communities safer, the current cash bail system and pre-trial detention actually causes an increase in criminal behavior,” says the letter.  

The Buscaino resolution is currently pending in the Committee on Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations. The ERNC has done what it can to see that it dies there. In the meantime, cash-bail is emerging as a defining issue for L.A.’s mayoral candidates.   

 

Bill Hendrickson, MBA, publisher of the Boulevard Sentinel, has extensive small business management, marketing and sales experience in corporate finance and real estate development and plays a not terrible game of golf.

T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel, and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.

11 thoughts on “The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council supports zero bail for lower-level offenses

  1. Woke idiots. Eagle Rock & the rest of Los Angeles’ minority community will suffer as Victims to the released criminals. How’s prop 47 working out for everyone? Oh, yeah & how’s that idiot Gascon doing? I’m so through w/LA. I feel so “ashamed” of being a Hispanic Angelino all these years…hahaha. Good riddens LA

    1. In related news, the ERNC Safety Director ran unopposed on a platform of defunding the police, so this isn’t a huge surprise. After all, we have to support our neighbors who happen to make a living through activities that reduce the inequity between the haves and the have-nots. (:

    2. You are calling people who haven’t even been tried or convicted “criminals.” I guess you don’t believe people are innocent until proven guilty…

      And if you’re “so through with LA” you are free to leave anytime. In fact, the sooner the better. Good riddance.

  2. Are they now some policitcal advisory board! What world does this board live in to figure that this move supports Eagle Rock businesses and residents. Stick to what you do best ERNC, push your homeless advocacy programs and support for the BRT. You know, the issues that will really help us 90041 residents.

  3. Wake up ! There’s a reason that home breakins, car theft, assaults, and burglaries are on the rise. The lawbreakers know that as long as they don’t steal more than $950 worth of goods, that it’s all a misdemeanor arrest, not even worthy of a police response. I’ve witnessed thefts from Vons by the homeless, and I’m not talking about food or necessities, unless you count scotch a necessity !! As long as people make excuses for illegal behavior, whatever the reason, this kind of activity will continue. It makes no difference what race or color someone is, a crime is a crime is a crime. If someone can’t make bail, at least they’re off the street and away from the rest of the law abiding citizens of the community. It sounds like De Leon is counting on the lawbreakers votes to maintain his current political position. It’s time for the people to support someone who represents LAW and ORDER , not chaos in the streets. Concentrate on removing the lawbreakers and quit rewarding with incentives to continue their illegal activities.

  4. What ERCU said…echoes throughout Eagle Rock. Time to get back to the basics of living in a safe community and not being freaking ashamed of it!

    1. @ C.D. and ERCU: Thanks for what you and others have said, which is common sense. There have to be meaningful consequences for criminals who destroy the security of our communities.

  5. One can only hope that those who wind up as victims of this “politically woke” decision are the “politically woke!”

  6. One simple idea that seems to have been glossed over is that things that are crimes are fairly well established, so a solution to avoid interaction with justice system might be don’t participate in or be around shady happenings. Perhaps this is overly simplistic, so please explain which crimes warrant bail and which crimes don’t.

  7. ERNC is nuts. They should be backing a recall of DA Gascone

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