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Vice President Kamala Harris’ stance on the cash bond has changed throughout her career – from supporting the program as a California law enforcement official to calling for sweeping system reforms in as a United States senator, presidential candidate and now vice president.
The subject of cash bond policies came to light this week after Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, allegedly smashed a crowd of innocent people attending a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six people, including one of 8 years. old boy, and injuring dozens of others.
THE HORROR OF THE WAUKESHA PARADE MADE POSSIBLE BY THE ATTEMPTS OF LEFT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AT SECURITY REFORM, INCLUDING CRITICISMS
Brooks had an extensive criminal history dating back to 1999, including several felonies. A convicted sex offender, Brooks has been released on bail twice in Wisconsin this year – despite an active arrest warrant for bail for a sex crime in Nevada.
Earlier this month, Milwaukee prosecutors asked for only $ 1,000 bail for Brooks after he was arrested and charged for punching his girlfriend in the face and then running her over with his car in the parking lot of a gas station. Prosecutors now admit the bond was “inappropriately low.”
Brooks’ criminal history ranges from multiple gun and battery convictions and strangulation to sex offenses and drug charges on a 50-page rap sheet that spans three states.
But critics criticize attempts at bail reform that put violent offenders like Brooks on the streets at little or no cost, warning that the system is endangering communities across the country.
Harris spent seven years as a San Francisco district attorney and six years as California attorney general – the first black woman to hold the post.
And while his stance on the matter has shifted from being strict to supporting the abolition of the cash bond, during his tenure as prosecutor, Harris supported the bond and even asked for higher bond amounts for gun-related charges. Harris’s office also defended the cash bond system.
The bail money is basically a guarantee to ensure that a person shows up on future court dates. If a person pays bond and then appears on their court dates, that money is refunded.
Before joining the Senate, Harris filed a motion in a case challenging the application of California’s cash bond laws, saying the system deserved “careful consideration.” However, she asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying the state’s laws were constitutional even though the way some counties used the laws was not.
“The bail system at issue here does not categorically deny bail to any group of individuals,” she wrote.
But as a senator, Harris’ stance changed – which critics have claimed to be practical for political gain as she portrayed herself as a progressive lawmaker.
Harris, during his tenure in the Senate and during the 2020 election campaign, called for the abolition of the cash bond. She argued that the cash bond has an unbalanced impact on low-income defendants.
As a senator, in July 2017, Harris joined GOP Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., In introducing legislation to push for changes or replacement of the cash bond system.
“Excessive bail disproportionately harms people from low-income communities and communities of color,” Harris and Paul wrote in a New York Times editorial at the time. “The bond is supposed to ensure that the accused appears at trial and does not commit any other offenses in the meantime.”
The bill was to empower states to give them the power to determine whether an accused constitutes a “flight risk or a threat to the public and should be held without bail.”
“Instead of the federal government imposing a one-size-fits-all approach, this bill provides grants from the Department of Justice directly to states so that each can design and implement the most effective policies, tailored to their unique needs,” he said. they wrote, adding that the bill “makes the states responsible”.
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And in February 2019, Harris again pushed to tackle bail reform across the country, saying it was “high time” to do so.
“Too often the poor are imprisoned because they do not have the money to pay the bond, while a person who has the same offense but has money in his back pocket comes out”, had Harris tweeted at the time. “It is a grave injustice.”
President Biden’s campaign was also in favor of removing the cash bond on the grounds that it discriminates against those who cannot afford to pay their bond.
“Cash surety is the prison of modern-day debtors,” the Biden 2020 campaign said on its website. “The cash bail system incarcerates presumed innocent people. And, it disproportionately harms low-income people. Biden will lead a nationwide effort to end cash bail and reform our pre-trial pre-trial system. by putting in place, instead, a system that is fair and does not inject additional discrimination or bias into the process. ”
BIDEN RELEASES A “GENDER EQUITY” PLAN THAT CALLS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF CASH LEASE
Last month, the White House released a 42-page report titled “National Strategy for Gender Equity and Equality,” which called for work “to end cash bail and reform our pre-trial detention system. “.
The White House has said eliminating the cash bond is a step governments can take to address gender and racial disparities.
Calls to end cash bail come as FBI data shows unprecedented rise in violent crime, with U.S. murders rising nearly 30% in 2020 – the highest increase in a single year since the FBI began tracking the statistic.
The overall violent crime rate, which also includes assault, theft and rape, increased 5% in 2020 from 2019.
WAUKESHA CHRISTMAS HORROR: MILWAUKEE DA ANNOUNCES INTERNAL REVIEW OF DARRELL BROOKS LEASE RECOMMENDATION
A letter from Biden and Harris included in last month’s report argues that reforms are necessary to promote equality, saying America has “never fully lived up to” the idea that “everyone between us is equal in dignity and deserves to be treated equally. “
“This strategy outlines an ambitious agenda for this administration and those to come – a roadmap to help our nation close the wicked gender gap and propel us towards a world of equal opportunity for all,” the letter said. . “Ensuring that all people have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, regardless of gender identity or other factors, is not just a moral imperative. It is a strategic imperative ”.
Neither the White House nor the vice president’s office immediately responded to Fox News’ request for comment.
Michael Ruiz, Michael Lee, Tyler Olson and the Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.