WOODLAND (CBS13) — Yolo County District Attorney’s office is questioning the safety of the zero bail policy after a persistent suspect found herself behind bars three times in four days.
Gonzales has found herself in some trouble over the last few weeks after getting arrested and released on $0 bail.
Zero dollar bail is a policy afforded to people arrested for minor offenses, allowing them to get out of jail without having to post bail. The policy was created amid the pandemic to avoid the spread of coronavirus in jails and prisons.
In a hearing Wednesday, Gonzales’s public defender made a case for her client’s release.
“We’re trying to protect the public,” the public defender said. “We are currently in a surge of coronavirus cases.”
But Yolo County Superior Court Judge Peter Williams was not having it, reading a laundry list of offenses, all allegedly committed while Gonzales was already out on $0 bail after an arrest back in August.
“On October 19 she engaged in trespassing of a residence, October 28th she apparently stole a U-Haul, the next day she crashed the U-Haul into a carwash. Damaging the gate at the West Sac police department. Then finally on November 1 behind the animal shelter in a car that belonged to an employee. She had a checkbook and money taken from the car. Do I have all that right?” Judge Williams said during the hearing.
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The Yolo County DA’s office says the pandemic policy is putting the public at risk.
“This is simply a get out of jail free card there’s no analysis to risk to public safety,” DA spokesperson Melinda Aiello said.
Gonzales is now being held at the Yolo County Jail after her Nov. 1 arrest on charges of burglary, possesion of stolen property and looting. Because looting is one of 13 exceptions to the $0 bail, Gonzales was not released.
“Looting is one of the enumerated exceptions to the zero dollar bail. So if someone is booked on the looting charge bail can be set,” Aiello said.
Gonzales’s bail was set at $25,000 Wednesday. She is due back in court at the end of the month.
The Yolo County DA’s office says nearly 400 people have been released as a result of the zero bail policy and at least a third have gone on to commit one new offense.