SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department indicated in an email to Canyon News on Wednesday, September 13 that new zero-bail rules are slated to begin October 1, 2023. The SMPD noted that on July 18, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County approved a new set of bail schedules for individuals arrested for misdemeanors and non-violent felony crimes.
As a result, all police departments in Los Angeles County, including the Santa Monica Police Department, must comply with the terms of the zero-bail protocol. The new bail schedule, slated to take effect will dictate one of three possible actions by law enforcement for an arrestee’s release:
- Cite and Release– Arrestee is released at the location of the arrest.
- Book and Release– Arrestee is booked in jail and then released on their own
- Magistrate Review– Select cases referred to an on-call magistrate.
New release protocols will replace traditional bail schedules where instead of assigning a money bail amount to non-violent felonies and misdemeanors, arrestees will now be a Cite and Release or a Book and Release.
With a smaller number of cases, suspects arrested for certain crimes posing an increased risk to the public will be referred to an on-call magistrate who will have discretion to determine the appropriate release terms and conditions. Capital offenses like murder with special circumstances and limited felonies are not eligible for pre-arraignment, zero-bail release.
Under the new protocol, offenses listed as Cite and Release, Book and Release, or Magistrate Review include almost all theft offenses, vehicle code violations, other property crimes like vandalism, and some serious crimes that are deemed non-violent. If an individual is arrested for False Imprisonment, under the new protocol is eligible for Book and Release. Under the previous bail schedule, their bail amount would be $50,000.
If an individual arrested for theft of an automobile is eligible for Book and Release, while under the previous bail schedule, their bail amount was $35,000. Offenses involving guns, sexual battery, crimes against children/elders and contact with minors with intent to commit a sexual offense are examples of offenses subject to Magistrate Review.
The SMPD stated:
“We will not waiver in our commitment to safeguarding our residents, visitors, and business owners even while we work within the processes set forth by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.”