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California’s bail system not only infringes on individual rights, but also exacerbates a cobweb criminal justice system. The In re Humphrey court framed the issue perfectly when it stated that the problem with the bail system stems “from the enduring unwillingness of our society, including the courts, to correct a deformity in our criminal justice system that close observers have long considered a blight on the system.” California sought to rectify this “deformity” of a wealth-based bail system by passing SB 10 (the California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017).

This Note addresses the arguments that will likely be raised against SB 10 and provides a response to these challenges. Part I discusses the historical background of monetary bail, the bail reform movement in both the federal and state forums, and the beginning of the current bail reform movement in California. Part II addresses the main legal and policy challenges against SB 10, showing how the greatest threats to SB 10 come from policy challenges, rather than legal challenges. Part III looks at the big picture, discussing the pitfalls of pretrial incarceration and the possibility that SB 10 could create a regime of e-carceration.


This article was awarded the second place in Cornell Law Library's Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research in 2019.