Kamala Harris' shifting stance on cash bail: Support as DA, opposition as politician

5 min read
Vice President Kamala Harris' stance on cash bail has shifted throughout her career – from supporting the program as a law enforcement official in California to calling for sweeping reforms to the system as a U.S. senator, presidential candidate and now vice president.
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The topic of cash bail policies has come into the spotlight this week after 39-year-old Darrell Brooks Jr. allegedly plowed through a crowd of innocent people attending a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injuring dozens more.


Brooks had an extensive criminal history dating back to 1999, including multiple felonies. A convicted sex offender, Brooks made bail twice in Wisconsin this year – despite having an active warrant for jumping bail on a sex crime charge in Nevada.

Earlier this month, Milwaukee prosecutors requested just $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 a gas station parking lot. Prosecutors now admit that bail was "inappropriately low."

Brooks' criminal history ranges from multiple firearms and battery convictions and strangulation to sex offenses and drug charges on a 50-page rap sheet that spans three states.

But critics are slamming attempts at criminal bail reform that put violent offenders like Brooks out on the street at low, or no cost, warning that the system is endangering communities around the country.

Harris spent seven years as district attorney for San Francisco and six years as the California attorney general – the first Black woman to hold that position.

And while her position on the matter has evolved from a strict stance to supporting the abolishment of cash bail, during her time as a prosecutor Harris supported bail and even called for higher bail amounts on gun-related charges. Harris' office also defended the cash bail system.

Bail money is essentially collateral to ensure a person shows up for future court dates. If a person pays bail, then appears for their court dates, that money is refunded.

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Brooke Singman
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