*****Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and is for educational purposes only. This does not create an attorney-client privilege.
We are in another election year and it is (nearly past) time to start considering not only who you want to vote for as president and to represent you regionally, but also to start doing your research on the measures on the California State Ballot this year. Or alternatively, you can follow this series of blog posts to get a summary of what's at stake with each measure, who is in support of and opposed to it, and a progressive's guide on checking No or Yes.
The final proposition on the ballot is Proposition 25, which is a referendum on law that placed cash bail with a system that is supposedly based on public safety and flight risk. Essentially, they are proposing that we stop allowing cash bail and instead replace this system with one that determines who makes bail based upon an algorithm that is meant to predict potential for them being a flight risk or a threat to public safety.
Many groups, even progressive ones, have endorsed a yes on this proposition, because it sounds great in theory, right? Requiring money bail as we do now is clearly wrong; someone is not more or less entitled to freedom/ release from jail because they can afford to pay a bail amount that someone else might not. It makes more sense for whether you make bail to be based upon the actual risk you pose than what you can afford.
While all this may sound good in theory, and is presented as positive on the ballot, the reality is that Proposition 25 is calling for a bad system to be replaced with something even worse. Proposition 25 proposes using an algorithm to predict the likelihood of someone committing another crime or running, yet this algorithm would be impossible to remove the intrinsic, racial bias of it. This bill was written by Sacramento politicians and was not designed to be remove discriminatory bias.
You should vote NO on Proposition 25 because the consequences of it would be costly. Not only would it have the opposite of the intended effects, as it is essentially calling for discriminatory computer profiling, administered by bureaucrats, but it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It would also hand over a lot more power to judges to determine who can and cannot make bail, which is a recipe for injustice. For all these reasons, we urge you to vote NO on Prop 25!