San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon and District Attorney Jason Anderson are among the latest law enforcement officials to publicly oppose the California Judicial Council’s emergency order granting $0 bail in misdemeanor and lower-level felony cases in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus among inmates by decreasing the jail population.
The order went into effect April 13 and will last until 90 days after the statewide emergency coronavirus is lifted.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer have also criticized the measure.
McMahon and Anderson asserted in separate videos posted on social media that releasing inmates jeopardizes the safety of county residents and that some inmates have better access to medical care inside the jails than outside.
McMahon noted his objection in a news release Friday about the arrest of two Fontana men on suspicion of theft of copper piping and propane tanks from a restaurant under construction in Rancho Cucamonga.
The men, 30-year-old Jose Arredondo and 32-year-old Martin Lozier, were seen loading the items into a blue Honda truck in broad daylight in the 12300 block of Foothill Boulevard on Thursday, the Sheriff’s Department said. A witness reported the truck’s license plate number, and deputies made a beeline for the nearest recycling center, in Fontana. There, they saw the suspects being paid for the metal, the release said. Both were arrested.
Because of the new bail requirement, Arredondo and Lozier immediately released after being booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.
.@SheriffMcMahon and @sbcountyda Jason Anderson strongly oppose the Judicial Council’s ruling to blindly gift $0 bail! This approach is short-sided & not in the best interest of public safety.
See the DA’s message: @sbcountyda pic.twitter.com/c6njBL4e9i
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) April 17, 2020
McMahon noted that some current inmates are being released as well because their crimes or allegations fall under the Judicial Council bail rule.
“Putting undue stress on our residents by releasing a record number of inmates into the community goes against our mission of providing law enforcement solutions that meet the needs of our community. The change to zero bail for arrestees dramatically compromises our sense of safety and well-being,” McMahon said.
Anderson said people suspected of elder abuse and child abuse, as well as those with previous serious felony convictions, are eligible for immediate release.
Inmates released due to COVID-19? You read that right. Join @sheriffmcmahon , @sbcountysheriff and our office in sending a unified message that this is unacceptable for San Bernardino County! #zerobail #unifiedmessage #thinblueline pic.twitter.com/oVehymFQB0
— San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office (@sbcountyda) April 17, 2020
Only one San Bernardino County inmate has been infected so far, Anderson said.
“We don’t believe we have to change our way of doing business in protecting the public when there’s no justification for having an order like the Judicial Council passed,” Andeson said.
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