Lawsuit: Bail is unfair to poor, favors rich

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jan 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 02:25:44-05

A federal judge ruled against a group who says San Francisco’s bail system is unfair to the poor.

“Equal Justice Under Law has filed nine class action challenges to money bail systems in seven states. So far, as a result of our lawsuits, cities in Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana have reformed their practices to end the use of secured money bail for new arrestees,” the group says on its website.

“Those who can afford their freedom pay for it, while others sit in jail pending trial simply due to their inability to pay."

Celebrity bounty hunter Beth Chapman is in the middle of the fight.

“They would like it that when a person is accused of a crime they are just brought in, booked and released,” Chapman said. “I think it's preposterous. I think it's ludicrous.”

Marco LiMandri owns A to Z Bail Bonds and Big Marcos Bail Bonds in San Diego.

“Every study that has been done by the bureau of justice statistics shows that we are still the most effective means of making sure people appear in court and we do it at no cost to the taxpayer,” LiMandri said.

He also says a vast majority of his clients use their payment plan, which makes bail more affordable.

LiMandri and Chapman think getting rid of bail will mean more criminals on the street.

“Quite honestly, it's a threat to public safety,” Chapman said.

A judge ruled the group has 30 days to file a new complaint with a new legal argument why they say the bail system is unfair.

“Equal Justice Under Law will continue to work hard to end the everyday jailing of hundreds of thousands of Americans solely because of their poverty,” the group states on its website.