Boost bail to lower crime rate, 2 Fairfield council members say

By From page A1 | May 02, 2014

FAIRIELD — Higher bail can help the community fight crime, say two Fairfield council members – a proposal Solano County District Attorney Donald du Bain says he’ll take to a May 8 meeting of local law enforcement officials.

“It’s definitely a very good idea I’m pursuing,” du Bain said.

Council members John Mraz and Catherine Moy, who seek the change in bail schedules for Solano County Superior Court, cite a study that shows bail here is among the lowest in California.

The 2013 report by the Sacramento-based Public Policy Institute of California includes a county-by-county review that places Solano among 14 counties whose average bail is at the bottom in the state.

Du Bain said if the Solano County Law Enforcement Administrators Association, which includes police chiefs and the sheriff, recommends higher bail schedules, the next step is to take the request to committee chaired by Solano County Superior Court Presiding Judge Bradley Nelson.

“This needs to be carefully considered by our law enforcement chiefs,” du Bain said.

The district attorney said San Joaquin County, which includes the city of Stockton, saw its homicide rate drop sharply after bail for felons charged with illegally possessing a weapon increased from $50,000 to $100,000.

Mraz said the bail change represents a real solution to Fairfield’s increased crime.

“It has to be done,” he said.

Police should be provided such assistance as they fight crime, the councilman said.

“We have good officers here,” Mraz said. “They are very compelled to work hard.”

The Public Policy Institute study states that superior court judges of each county are responsible for preparing, adopting and annually revising a uniform countywide bail schedule.

Over the past decade, bail levels have increased by an average of 22 percent, according to the study.

Advocates of bail reform have argued that increased bail levels and wide variations across counties in California discriminate against poor defendants and lead to overcrowded jails, the study states. The relationship between crime rates and average bail levels is extremely weak, according to the report.

San Francisco Bay Area counties span the range of bail levels, the study noted, and county wealth as measured by median household income doesn’t predict bail schedules. Five counties with the highest incomes in the state, including Marin and San Mateo, have the same average bail as the five counties with the lowest incomes, the report adds.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 18 comments

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  • Skeptic ScroogeMay 02, 2014 - 2:24 am

    Where's bertani? Out huggin thugs???

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  • JBMay 02, 2014 - 5:03 am

    Probably getting their bail money from the SEIU.

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  • RoseMay 02, 2014 - 10:52 am

    JB, Who are all the candidates that SEIU are endorsing in this election??? I'd like to know so that I can avoid ALL of those beholden candidates! Frankly, it's hard to trust elected officials that rely on unions for money to run.

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  • LoveMyCommunityMay 02, 2014 - 12:38 pm

    So far Bertani and Krishna Abrams for DA.... Hmm.

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  • Tax PayerMay 02, 2014 - 5:28 am

    Let's see lowest bail schedule, lowest conviction rates. Where has the current DA been during the last few years of higher violent crimes committed in our county. We need new leadership.

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  • HmmMay 02, 2014 - 11:16 am

    Let's see, highest filing rate in Bay Area. Solano County file 91% of cases brought to the DA's office. In contrast for example, Contra Costa County files just over 50 % of all cases brought to their DA. And, you are incorrect that Solano County has the lowest conviction rates. The conviction rate of Solano County is average with the Bay Area. Don't forget cases must be solid to convict. Just because the police work hard to try and solve a case doesn't mean they dig up the evidence necessary for a conviction. Your average voter/citizen sits on these juries. Your average voter or citizen is saying they need more to convict.

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  • Julian WMay 02, 2014 - 7:52 pm

    oh the lower conviction rate couldn't be because of all of the false arrests happening around town now could it? I just had a case dropped because it was false and the DA knew it. Thanks Officer Grimm.

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  • BaseballmomMay 02, 2014 - 5:58 am

    My grandson was at Laurel Creek last night. Playing t-ball with other 5 and 6 year old boys. Shots were fired right next to the fields... This is an awful situation. Little kids who now are it afraid to go to the Little League fields to play a game they love. Glad I left "the dub" a few years ago. I know my kids will get out as soon as they can. What was once a wonderful city has become a cesspool of thugs. Sick.

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  • concerned citizenMay 02, 2014 - 8:29 pm

    Our family and 5 year old grandson were also at TBall game last night when the shooting happened. What a horrible situation. Little children huddled behind the dugouts, parents terrified, the fields evacuated, the games abruptly canceled, police everywhere!!! I've never seen such a sorry thug like society as i see here. I came to this town about 8 years ago and see it steadily getting more worse. The police try but can't be everywhere. Low life has taken over.

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  • Mr. SmithMay 02, 2014 - 9:34 pm

    Concerned: You are not alone. My grandson also has to play at that facility, and we are not happy campers at this point.

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  • 2realMay 02, 2014 - 6:28 am

    Bertani put down the tongs and leave the bar b que already! We get it its only for votes!!. Moy, laurel creek isnt high density!! Once again you've put your foot in your mouth!

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  • CD BrooksMay 02, 2014 - 6:31 am

    Judges have as much room as they need to make decisions based on their interpretation of law. THEY run their courtroom and although I agree with the principle, they have their own set of rules so good luck with that.

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  • boomMay 02, 2014 - 7:57 am

    I doubt the bail schedule is changed. Bradley Nelson was an excellent defense attorney(saved me from prison more than once lol) and I doubt he's going to change the bail schedule because Dubain wants it, in fact I doubt Brad does anything to help any prosecutor in this county.

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  • Tom TolerMay 02, 2014 - 8:37 am

    The best way to use bail to prevent crime and or to hold defendants in jail is to hold bail agents accountable when they discount bail. To charge the people who sign for bail and lie about their income, jobs and their refusal to keep track of the people they sign for. The people in jail rarely have the means to bail. Their friends and family signs for the bond, then refuses to pay

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  • TomTolerMay 02, 2014 - 8:45 am

    Arrest afew for defrauding the court/system or charge them with 532 PC obtaining goods or services by false pretense. A felony. Stop them from using social security for bail. Arrest a bail agent for taking welfare funds for bail. Stop this behavior and you will keep the bad ones in jail.

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  • RoseMay 02, 2014 - 9:43 am

    I think this is an intriguing option to explore. Perhaps, discussion similar to this is what should have been discussed and probed at the town hall meeting. If Stockton has seen results as dramatic as a sharp drop in homicides, I'm all ears for more exploration into this idea. What concerns me is we also have the issue of realignment. Soon many convicted state prisoners will be released to the counties that convicted them. It will be up to the county to house them or release them and provide resources. So, my question is a simple one, if we have an already crowded jail housing already convicted felons, will there be room for the new criminals? If the county raises bail which would inevitably keep more criminals in jail, how does this county make it work with the jail space we have, with the LIMITED monetary resources we have? These are all things to think about but, I must say, raising bail is intriguing. I'm curious to see how our law enforcement collaborates to vet this idea. It will be refreshing to see them work together instead of blaming the each other for the high crime in Fairfield. Personally, I've had enough of the finger pointing on who's fault it is. I'm ready for the police dept, prosecution and the judges to work TOGETHER instead of throwing someone under the bus because it takes heat off of them for a little while. Also, I am discouraged when I see our citizens on here regularly spouting their unhappiness with elected and appointed officials, offering nothing but criticism but no rational solution. It's sort of like that annoying barking dog next door that never stops. Offer solutions when moaning and groaning. Lastly, bravo to Mraz and DuBain for looking into this bail idea. Thank you for spending your hours and days actually working to make this a safer place.

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  • clancyMay 02, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Funny . seems like I see several excellent suggestions in the comments under this article and many others. I don't blame people for venting their frustrations . most of us have jobs and time demanding lives and expect our elected and other officials to do the job they are paid to do. The citizens can be of some help but have limited time and power Rose..I believe it starts with respect for the neighborhood and community. Maybe you are my next door neighbor.

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  • RalphMay 02, 2014 - 5:57 pm

    felony bail..isnt worth it to me, I'd rather rot in jail.

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