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Kern County has released 39 offenders to comply with zero-bail mandate from California Judicial Council

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County has released 39 people from custody as a result of the California Judicial Council’s zero-bail mandate, but local authorities have criticized the council’s order as allowing certain dangerous criminals to be set free.

The new bail schedule took effect April 13.

“This order forces us to implement a statewide bail schedule that doesn’t take into account a suspect’s criminal history, resistance to arrest or danger to the community, and creates a ‘catch and release’ system for many felony offenses,” Sheriff Donny Youngblood said in a news release issued Thursday by the District Attorney’s office.

“The order was unnecessary, as sheriffs across the state have already implemented procedures
to address the threat of COVID-19 while securing public safety,” he said.

The council’s order makes exceptions to zero bail for serious and violent offenses and looting offenses, but allows it for crimes including child abuse, elder abuse, the violation of public health orders, resisting arrest, reckless evasion of a peace officer and possession of stolen property, according to the release.

“We are empowering officers to seek increased bail on particularly dangerous offenders by bringing their concerns to a judge, who can still require a higher bail, even on offenses that fall under this mandate,” said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer in the release. “By working with our partners in law enforcement, we will continue to do everything in our authority to limit dangerous and predatory criminals from being released back onto our streets.”

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