California Proposition 189, No Bail for Felony Sexual Assault Charges (1994)

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California Proposition 189 was on the November 8, 1994 general election ballot in California as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was overwhelmingly approved.

Proposition 189 amended the California Constitution to permit the courts to deny bail for a wider range of sexual offenses. In particular, under Prop 189, the courts are allowed to deny bail to those accused of committing any felony sexual assault.

Election results

Proposition 189
Approveda Yes 6,378,386 79.4%

Constitutional changes

California Constitution

Proposition 189 amended the California Constitution by adding a new section, Section 12, to Article I as follows:

Proposition 189 text.PNG

Text of measure

Proposition 189 1994.PNG

The ballot title was:

Bail Exception. Felony Sexual Assault. Legislative Constitutional Amendment

The ballot summary was:

  • Amends State Constitution to add felony sexual assault offenses to crimes currently excepted from right to bail, which are 1) capital crimes; 2) felonies involving acts of violence when there is a substantial likelihood of harm to others if bail is granted; and, 3) any felony when the accused has threatened another with great bodily harm and the court finds a substantial likelihood that release would result in such harm.
  • Requires judicial findings upon clear and convincing evidence of likelihood that release would result in great bodily harm to others.

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • Unknown, but probably not significant, costs to local governments for jailing individuals denied bail.
  • Unknown, but probably not significant, savings to the state because some individuals held without bail and then convicted can receive credit for their jail time, thereby reducing the length of stay in prison.

Path to the ballot

The California State Legislature voted to put Proposition 189 on the ballot via Assembly Constitutional Amendment 37.

Votes in legislature to refer to ballot
Chamber Ayes Noes
Assembly 69 0
Senate 30 0

External links