The lawsuit is brought on behalf of more than a half-dozen individuals who have been jailed on bails they could not afford.
"It's not about how how bad the accusations are, it's about whether you're going to come back to court and about whether you are a danger," Roper said.
Joshua Glenn, who runs the Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project, one of the non-profit plaintiffs in the case, said, "At the age of 16, I was locked up, charged as an adult and held in prison for 18 months."
His charges were dismissed, but he believes the current bail system keeps poor defendants in jail — so they lose jobs, homes and families.
"That's not what bail is supposed to be used for," Glenn said, "and so we just want them to do their job and follow the rules."
A spokesman for the First Judicial District declined to comment.