1965 August 16

LA Rioters Granted the “Precious Right” to Bail


A municipal court judge in Los Angeles ruled on this day that 2,024 adults arrested in the Watts riot, one of the most serious racial disturbances in the 1960s, had a constitutional right to bail. Speaking for the defendants, A.L. Wirin, staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, argued that “the right to bail is one of the most precious rights” in the U.S. legal system. The judge agreed, but set higher bail than normal — $3,000 higher than normal — because, he said, “these are not normal times.”

Learn more about the Watts riot: Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (1995)

Watch a video of the Watts riothttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDRWLQ0FO9w

Learn more: John Goldkamp, Two Classes of Accused: A Study of Bail and Detention in American Justice (1979)

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