FRESNO, California (KGPE) – There is growing frustration from law enforcement across the Central Valley over the $0 bail system.
It comes after two people who were named as suspects in a Clovis Police news release about an alleged teen theft crew started commenting on the department’s Facebook post.
“The zero [dollar] bail thing is a joke,” said Dep. Daryl Allen with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
The California Judicial Council put the $0 bail order into place amid the coronavirus pandemic. Their reasoning was that, since the courts are closed, it would avoid the 48-hour time limit that person must be arraigned.
“We have people that are arrested, released with zero dollar bail, and they go out and re-offend,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. “These criminals know what the rules are, they know what they’re going to be able to get away with.”
Even criminals are mocking the system. Following their arrest in Clovis for stealing $14,000 in clothes, the 18-year-old and a 19-year-old named starting taunting police.
“It goes to show what we’re dealing with here in California,” said Clovis Police Lt. Jim Munro. “It’s really hard to arrest somebody for a felony and see them out before the officer even gets done doing their paperwork. It was surprising that they would have the nerve to comment like that in public but we captured those screenshots and will forward to the DA and judge for any type of help in the case that it might aid.”
Sheriff Mims says she knew the $0 bail order would backfire. She says from April 9 through May 18, more than 750 people have been released as a result of the order. Of that, 100 people have been re-booked.
“We know that almost 14% of those that have been let go as a result of this have been rearrested and rebooked. Now that doesn’t count those who might have been arrested and cited out and never made it to jail for booking, but the recidivism rate is climbing and it was very predictable,” Mims said.
Merced County Sheriff’s Office agrees with Mims. Deputies say they recently had a suspect commit grand theft auto three times within approximately two hours and all they could do was cite the suspect and let him go.