Reports & Documents

Urquidi v. City of Los Angeles is a class action lawsuit against the County and City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and the Chief of the LAPD, challenging the defendants’ policy of jailing arrested individuals who are unable to pay the monetary amounts set by the County’s uniform “bail schedules.” Because they cannot pay, detained people languish for days before seeing a lawyer or a judge at arraignment. 

But, according to the California Supreme Court, requiring money bail without considering a person’s ability to pay is unconstitutional.

The Urquidi attorneys, plaintiffs and coalition supporters — many of whom are working to correct the “hell” of Men’s Central Jail and the Inmate Reception Center — hope to usethis lawsuit to end widespread constitutional violations that drastically affect the most vulnerable people in LA by stopping the practice of jailing people based on access to cash and developing more fair and effective pretrial policies.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Phillip Urquidi, Terilyn Goldson, Daniel Martinez, Arthur Lopez, Susana Perez, and Gerardo Campos, all of whom were in jail at the time of filing because they and their families could not afford to pay the arbitrary amounts dictated by the bail schedule. They are joined as plaintiffs by an interfaith coalition of CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice); its Executive Director Reverend Jennifer Gutierrez; Reverend Gary Bernard Williams, Pastor Saint Mark UMC and Board Member of CLUE; and Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, Professor of Rabbinic Literature, American Jewish University. These clergy plaintiffs are challenging the unconstitutional use of their taxes to fund the unlawful detention of individuals who are unable to pay bail.

Here are documents and declarations filed in advance of and during hearings in LA Superior Court where the Los Angeles Superior Court considered the plaintiffs’ urgent request for a Preliminary Injunction. 

Additionally, there is a section on statistics used in court, in studies and news reports that specifically address the harm done by the unconstitutionally holding a detainee for days based on economic inequality. 

That section is followed by several studies and reports, including some published by expert witnesses who submitted testimony to the court.

Briefs & Documents


  1 in 3 California arrests never lead to a conviction. Even when a person is innocent, they are jailed after arrest if they can’t pay cash bail. 1 in 6 LAPD arrests are never even charged by prosecutors once they review the case. Though the case is dropped, the harm done to the detainee is not considered. 

94% of cases people never get a trial

● Pretrial jailing pressures people (including innocent people) to plead guilty.

Study after study shows that money bail does not increase court appearances.

● Money bail actually decreases future court appearance because it destabilizes people’s lives by costing them their housing, jobs, and mental health care.

● Pretrial jailing destabilizes people’s lives and increases future arrests for new crimes.

30% of employed people jailed pretrial lose their jobs.

23% of people jailed pretrial lose their housing. Pretrial jailing increases homelessness.

● Just three days of pretrial jailing leads to an average loss of $29,000 in lifetime earnings.

● Pretrial jailing is family separation. It traumatizes children who lose their parents. It harms every dependent the jailed person cares for including elders, friends, and family members.

● In 40% of cases, pretrial jailing changes a child’s living situation. In 2022, 4,300 women in California spent Mother’s Day in pretrial detention. An estimated 80% of them are mothers.


Studies and Reports demonstrating that cash bail is ineffective and cruel:

Aug. 9, 2023 – Fact Sheet: The Case for Cash Bail Reform. Cash bail reform is a critical step to ensuring a safe and equitable pretrial process. Allie Preston, Center for American Progress

Aug. 3, 2023 – The Deadly and Tragic Costs of Pretrial Detention, Andrea Woods, Benjamin Lynde, ACLU. Content warning: This piece includes disturbing details about the deaths of incarcerated people. LaShawn Thompson died late last year while being detained pretrial in Atlanta’s Fulton County jail. He was incarcerated there — and died — because he could not afford $2,500 in bail for a misdemeanor charge. An autopsy confirms that his death was a homicide caused by neglect, malnourishment, and that his body was literally eaten by bugs. It took eight months for this gruesome and horrible truth to come to light….”

Nov. 3, 2022 – 5 Ways Cash Bail Systems Undermine Community Safety, Allie Preston, Center for American Progress. The cash bail status quo harms community safety through its effects on health, economic stability, employment, familial relationships, and housing.

Oct. 2022 – Coming Up Short: The Unrealized Promise of In re Humphrey; UCLA School of Law Bail Practicum; Berkeley Law/Policy Advocacy Clinic.  In re Humphrey. 

Oct. 2022 – Money bail and the Los Angeles County jail system, Vera Institute of Justice. Showing that unaffordable money bail is an ongoing driver of pretrial incarceration in LA County. 

Aug. 30, 2022 – Bail Reform Benefits, PennCareyLaw, University of Pennsylvania. “The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has released a new report finding that Harris County, Texas’s targeted misdemeanor bail reforms are improving public safety and keeping low-level cases out of jail. Led by Professor of Law and the Quattrone Center’s Academic Director Paul Heaton,” who testified as the LA Superior Court’s pro bono expert.

July 6, 2022 – Profit Over People: Primer on U.S. Cash Bail Systems. “Cash bail practices undermine the presumption of innocence in the criminal legal system and lead to racially and economically disparate outcomes.” Allie Preston and Rachael Eisenberg, Center for American Progress.


Jan. 2022 – Bail and Pretrial Justice in the United States: A Field of Possibility. Joshua Page1 and Christine S. Scott-Hayward2 , Annual Review of Criminology.

Sept. 2021 Handbook on Pretrial Justice , Christine S. Scott-Hayward, Jennifer E. Copp, Stephen Demuth

April 11, 2017 – “Not in it for Justice” How California’s Pretrial Detention and Bail System Unfairly Punishes Poor People. Human Rights Watch.

Oct. 2013 – Unsecured Bonds: The Most effective and most Efficient Pretrial Release Option. Pretrial Justice Institute, Michael R. Jones.


2023 – Care First L.A.: Tracking Jail Decarceration Dashboard, Vera Institute of Justice. Realtime dashboard tracking incarceration rates in L.A. County, showing over 50% of those incarcerated in Los Angeles are at the pretrial phase of the criminal legal process.

Mar. 21, 2023 – Jail Populations, Violent Crime and COVID-19: Findings from the Safety and Justice Challenge. Report analysis shows that, on average, cities and coun- ties implementing jail population reform efforts successfully reduced jail populations without jeopardizing community safety. 

Sept. 8, 2022 ACLU Seeks Court Order Against L.A. County Over Horrific Conditions at Jail Facility.  (Click here to see the case page with legal documents, declarations and exhibits re the ACLU/SoCal lawsuit Rutherford v Luna.)

Skip to content