By: Marie Edinger
FRESNO, Calif. (FOX26) — A man who’s been accused of beating his girlfriend multiple times in now back in jail for the fourth time in six weeks.
He keeps being let out and then re-arrested because of the $0 bail rule.
There have been 793 releases under the $0 bail rule since it kicked in April 9th. Of those, people have been re-booked 104 times.
That 104 number doesn’t necessarily mean different people each time; some are being arrested over and over again.
Just two and a half weeks ago, 37-year-old Eric Simmons was arrested on charges of rape, robbery, battery, assault with a deadly weapon.
He also had an outstanding warrant for spousal abuse.
He posted bond and got out.
Now, he’s back in jail, arrested for 8 new felony counts: spousal abuse again, plus auto theft, looting, and other charges.
Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tony Botti says deputies are getting more and more disheartened by this.
“That’s the worst part. Because we do this to protect the public from becoming a victim, and to know you have somebody in your grasp and you’re locking them up, then the next day they’re out and victimizing somebody new. And how you explain that to that person? ‘Hey, i just arrested this person yesterday, and I’m sorry, I wish I could have protected you, but I’m sorry – my hands were tied.'”
On April 23rd, Simmons was arrested for running from police, driving on a suspended license, and drug charges.
His bail would have been $58,000 but the $0 bail rule meant he didn’t owe a dime.
Six weeks ago he was arrested for misdemeanor battery.
His bail was set at $5,000 and he got out that same day.
“It becomes very disheartening for our officers and our deputies to know you did something good, you arrested somebody, and as you’re driving them to the jail, you just know in the back of their head that they’re gonna be back out in a few hours,” said Botti.
When FOX26 reporter Marie Edinger talked with Sheriff Mims about $0 bail on May 14th, the Sheriff had a prediction about these repeat offenders.
“These criminals are getting a citation to appear with a court date, so they are going to be in the system, they are going to be held accountable. However, we’re going to have to go out and find them again, because they’re not going to show up in court. The vast majority will not show up,” said Sheriff Mims during that previous interview.
That’s a theory that Dan Escamilla, a fugitive recovery agent, agrees with.
“It’s unfortunate because it takes the police away from their normal patrol duties and from responding to crime in progress when they have to do all this detective work to chase down a fugitive who didn’t appear in court,” explained Escamilla.
Escamilla adds that the chase isn’t always a matter of just detective work – it’s also extremely dangerous.
“A partner was a victim of this whole justice reform movement. On December 3rd, a fugitive recovery agent I worked closely with was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a fugitive in Moreno Valley.”
Right now, Simmons’ bail is set at $95,000.
The $0 bail rule stays in effect for 90 days after the emergency order is lifted.
Simmons is not the only recent case where people were arrested multiple times since the $0 bail rule kicked into effect.
He was let out April 10th, then arrested again on May 14th for doing the exact same thing.
That was his 19th time being arrested since 1998.
There’s also a case in Clovis where accused criminals who’d just been let out of jail started making fun of the bail system on the Clovis department’s Facebook page.
19-year-old Schirrell Cummings, 18-year-old Michael Ivory, and a 16-year-old were arrested for stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of goods from a Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Cummings had just been arrested for petty theft this past October.
Clovis police arrested Ivory last July for shoplifting.
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By: Marie Edinger