YOLO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office says they have been tracking people who were let out on zero-dollar bail and observed that almost half have been arrested again.
“Over 900 arrests by those who’d been released on zero-dollar bail,” said Melinda Aiello, assistant chief deputy district attorney. “Arrested for attempted murder, robbery, domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon.”
Under the statewide Emergency Bail Schedule, bail for all misdemeanor and felony offenses must be set at $0 with the exception of 13 specific penal code violations, but the schedule was rescinded in June 2020.
In July, the state reported 31 counties, including Yolo, continued to use Emergency Bail Schedule as a way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in crowded jails.
The Yolo County DA’s Office criticized Emergency Bail Schedule, saying it “looks at the arresting offense and releases individuals on $0 bail, even those on probation or parole, without conducting a risk assessment for dangerousness.”
Aiello says that delays justice for victims and needed services for the person arrested.
Since April 13, 2020, individuals released on $0 bail have committed over 908 new crimes in the county and 41.6% have been rearrested, according to the DA.
One person has been rearrested 19 times after a $0 bail release, the DA says — among listing other examples of offenders being arrested multiple times under the Emergency Bail Schedule.
Yolo County Superior Court plans to end the emergency bail schedule but may adopt a new list of bail amounts, each connected to the charges a defendant faces, Aiello says.
But she says they’re concerned over those changes, calling it a dramatic slashing of bail amounts with no consideration for the impact of public safety. For example, bail for those with charges relating to child pornography could go from $50,000 to $5,000.
“Because there are offenses that absolutely impact public safety, that may not have the highest criminal penalty,” Aiello said.
Yolo County Superior Court is taking concerns from its criminal justice partners on what they see as flaws and will consider them before coming to a decision in mid-May.