Sponsor: Sen. Kline
Fairness in determining bail is vital because bail is a fundamental protection of our legal system against incarceration of individuals who have been accused but not convicted of crimes. Following last session’s passage of a constitutional amendment to make bail denial easier, the ACLU-WA participated in a task force over the summer designed to review the bail process and make improvements.
The resulting bill was a mixed bag, including both positive and problematic provisions from the standpoint of due process. Included was a poorly executed risk assessment tool that could have worsened systemic bias, as well as bail provisions that jeopardized the rights of mentally ill arrestees. Although we were successful in having amendments included to fix those concerns, the bill eventually died for reasons unrelated to civil liberties issues.