Danica Rodarmel

  • Hosted by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Sponsored by Fenwick & West LLP
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Consumer Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Danica strategically advocated for bail reform in California by providing consumer justice legal services to clients on bail-related matters, supporting grassroots community engagement in reform efforts, and advising policy makers.

In California, 70 percent of people in jail are held in pretrial detention. More than two-thirds of them are detained simply because most Californians cannot afford to pay the state’s $50,000 median bail amount. Instead, many pay a commercial bail agent’s 10 percent fee to get them out. Commercial bail industry practices have created an underserved population that falls into the gap between public defense and consumer protection, leaving those who use these services vulnerable to predatory practices, including: deceptive advertising, inequitable contracts, and unfair attempts to collect debt.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Danica has:

  • Created The Bail Clinic, the first clinic working to apply consumer protection laws to bail bonds, which served 125 clients and successfully discharged over $200,000 in bail bonds debt;
  • Created handbook to guide pro bono and legal aid attorneys in providing bail consumer legal services;
  • Participated in impact litigation to develop the application of consumer protection law to commercial bail and immigration bonds industries;
  • Collaborated with legal organizations to file class action lawsuit against the bail bonds industry resulting in California state legislation, which passed through the California Senate unanimously
  • Engaged Fenwick & West attorneys in The Bail Clinic and full scope representation.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Danica plans to:

  • Remain at her host organization as a staff attorney;
  • Organize a national conference at Berkeley Law regarding the application of consumer protection law to combat the corporate profiteering from incarcerated people and their loved ones;
  • Continue to advance legislation to clarify application of consumer protection law to bail bonds companies;
  • Help create an online bail debt dispute tool that is accessible to consumers across the state.

Media

Judge Orders Bad Boys Bail Bonds to Stop Collecting on $38 Million from Unlawful Contracts in Class Action Suit

California ordered to halve San Quentin population after showing 'deliberate indifference,' court says

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