In March, the California Supreme Court ruled the judge of bail prices must take into account a suspect’s ability and financial situation.
Los Angeles Police recently arrested 14 suspects in connection to 11 “smash-and-grab” robberies that took place in the city in November. However, all 14 suspects are now back on the streets, according to the chief of police.
Why? According to FOX 11 Los Angeles, Chief Michel Moore explained that the state of California has a “zero bail” policy.
Moore stated that all suspects taken into custody were released from custody either because of one juvenile or because the others have been bailed out or met zero-bail criteria.
“All suspects taken into custody are released, either because of one juvenile or the other as a consequence of bailing out or zerobail criteria.”
— Chief Michel Moore, LAPD
According to The Associated Press, George Gascon, Liberal Los Angeles County District Attorney, supports ending bail for many crime and insists that smash-and grab offenders be held responsible.
“Our office has been working with many law enforcement agencies. Once all the evidence is gathered, we’ll review the cases to determine if criminal charges should be filed,” Alex Bastian (special adviser to Gascon) stated in a statement. These brazen acts are hurtful to all of us: customers, employees, and retailers alike.
The California Supreme Court ruled in March that bail prices must be set by judges. This means that indigent defendants can go free in California, pending further legal action unless they are deemed dangerous.
Despite California voters’ rejection in November 2020 of a proposal to end the state’s cash bail system, was reported by the AP.
In many cases, the consequences of “zero bail”, as well as other issues surrounding it, have been brought up.
Officials in Santa Clara County and San Jose criticized the policy earlier this week. They blamed it for the release two murder suspects, who authorities believe were connected to a Halloween murder.
“This is an absolutely assault on the safety San Jose residents,” Sean Pritchard (president of the San Jose Police Officers Association) stated to Fox News in a statement.
A homeless man from Glendale, California, was arrested in August. He was quickly returned to public after being released on “zero bail”.
Another case involved a suspect in car theft being arrested 13x over 12 weeks.
Moore stated that 11 attacks were made on Los Angeles stores between Nov. 18th and Nov. 28. This resulted in the theft of approximately $338,000 and property damage totaling more than $40,000, Moore explained.
According to the chief, it is not known if the same suspects were involved with more than one robbery.
The thieves take as many items as possible from a store during smash-and-grab robberies. These thieves are most often attracted to high-end shops that sell expensive jewelry, clothing, and electronics.
Similar incidents were reported elsewhere in California, including in the San Francisco Bay Area, in recent weeks.
According to the AP, Chesa Boudin, San Francisco District Attorney, announced last week that nine suspects were facing felony charges. Bay Area prosecutors also announced a joint effort against organized retail theft.
Walnut Creek officials, located 25 miles east from San Francisco, increased police funding this week by $2 million. In November, nearly 100 ski-mask-wearing thieves struck Nordstrom department store, taking $125,000 worth of merchandise.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat promised Wednesday that his next state budget proposal next months will “significantly enhance our efforts to go after this retail rings,” according the AP.
Moore stated that law enforcement and elected leaders are trying to solve the problem. He also suggested that the public can help by refusing to purchase “black market” stolen goods, FOX 11 reported.
Moore stated that “the chain of responsibility extends all through the buyer who is willingly to pay a reduced rate to obtain a deal,” but acknowledged that the deal comes at a price that could be life-threatening.