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To the editor: It amazes me that even L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti seems to confuse bail with actual imprisonment of a guilty person. Bail exists for one reason: to ensure that the accused will show up in court.
As The Times has reported, most of the suspects arrested in connection with recent robberies in Los Angeles posted bail or were later released without bail. What difference is there between those who posted bail or those who were released?
There is none. They are all capable, if they wish, to commit crimes, bail or not. I agree with Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón that our system of money bail is broken.
Take a situation where an innocent person with few assets is arrested and given a bail amount. This person must give 10% of that amount to a bondsman, which they will never get back. If even this 10% cannot be procured, this person sits in jail and likely loses employment. The options are not optimal.
Meanwhile, a person of means can post bail without a bondsman. Assuming the accused shows up to trial or the case is dismissed, the entire amount is returned. How is a person who can afford to post bail less dangerous than someone who cannot and is stuck in jail awaiting trial?
Garcetti wants to look tough on crime, but associating bail with justice is a fool's argument.
Chris Pisano, Rancho Palos Verdes
To the editor: Addressing her 43 million followers on Twitter about the recent rash of violent smash-and-grab robberies, and other horrible violent crimes including the home invasion killing of 81-year-old philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, Oprah Winfrey said that the "world is upside down."
Well, that certainly sums it up quite succinctly.
With seemingly no end in sight and nary a nod from Washington, and with California already being upside down on crime prevention for decades now, we're all left to live with one eye in front of us, with the other looking back.
Maybe it's time for California to switch to a third party, because the other two have made a mess of things.
Marty Foster, San Francisco
To the editor: Smash-and-grab incidents have risen across the nation. Yet here in California, they are being blamed on recent changes in how we treat people who have been accused of a crime.
I am at a loss to understand how a change in California law has caused crime waves in many other states. Perhaps one of the reactionaries who wants to discard sensible reforms after less than a year would care to offer an explanation.
Geoff Kuenning, Claremont
To the editor: I am socially progressive, but I think it's wrong to classify "smash and grabs" and "follow-home robberies" as simply "property crimes." They are destroying the lives of innocent business owners and citizens.
When many businesses are begging for workers, it's disingenuous to blame "economic desperation" or a lack of jobs. When mobs of people conspire to attack stores, show up in fancy SUVs and take off in 30 seconds, this is more akin to terrorism.
Michael Schaller, Temple City
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.