Judicial Council delays bail, foreclosure decisions after talks with Newsom, lawmakers
By Jeremy B. White
California judicial leaders delayed a decision to recommence eviction proceedings and cash bail directives on Thursday, citing discussions with Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders.
“I believe the executive and legislative branches will need more time to sort through various policy proposals,” California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement.
The Judicial Council of California was poised to undo its decisions from earlier in the coronavirus pandemic to halt eviction enforcement and set bail amounts at zero in most cases, recognizing the virus had put rent out of reach for many out-of-work Californians and increased infection hazards in jails.
Lawmakers had urged the Judicial Council to reconsider, saying many of their constituents were still reeling from the economic ravages of the shutdown. Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) wrote California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Wednesday to express their “grave concern” over evictions and urge Cantil-Sakauye to extend the orders until the end of the year.
“Absent such a revision to your amendment, millions of Californians will be put at risk of evictions at a time when our society, public health and economy can least afford it,” they wrote, warning that despite stabilizing infection numbers, “we are still faced with levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression.”
Legislators are advancing multiple proposals to shield renters and homeowners from foreclosures and eviction, citing that ongoing economic pain.
The bail reinstitution also drew objections from civil rights groups who warned that jails continue to pose a high risk of coronavirus transmission. They also warned the change could lead to the incarceration of more protesters who have flooded the streets in response to George Floyd’s death.