The city and county of San Francisco is unconstitutionally criminalizing poverty by keeping poor arrestees in jail because they can't afford to post bail, a federal class action claims.
"Nobody should be detained because they're too poor to pay an arbitrary amount of money," Phil Telfeyan of the Washington, D.C.-based Equal Justice Under the Law told reporters Thursday. "A very, very dangerous criminal might be released if they can post $100,000 bond, whereas a completely nonviolent detainee might be in jail for months pending trial simply because she's too poor to pay that bond amount."
The class is led by Riana Buffin, 19, and Crystal Patterson, 29. Both women were arrested earlier this week and charged respectively with grand theft and assault.
Buffin's bail was set at $30,000, Patterson's at $150,000. Both have since had their charges dropped.
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