California’s zero-bail policy sets free 14 smash-grab robbery suspects, LAPD chief says

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Los Angeles police recently arrested 14 suspects in connection with 11 “smash and grab” robberies in the city in late November – but all 14 suspects are back on the street, the city’s police chief says.

The reason? The state of California’s “zero bail” policy, Chief Michel Moore told reporters at a Thursday evening news conference, according to FOX 11 of Los Angeles.

“All the suspects taken into custody are out of custody, either as a result of one juvenile, or the others as a result of bailing out or zero-bail criteria,” Moore said.

“All the suspects taken into custody are out of custody, either as a result of one juvenile, or the others as a result of bailing out or zero-bail criteria.” 

— Chief Michel Moore, LAPD

LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
(FOX 11 Los Angeles)

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Back in March, the California Supreme Court ruled that judges in the state must consider a suspect’s ability to pay when setting bail prices – in effect allowing indigent defendants to go free, pending further legal action, unless they are deemed too dangerous, according to The Associated Press.

Jewelry stores are often targeted in smash-and-grab robberies.

Jewelry stores are often targeted in smash-and-grab robberies.
(Conway Police Department)

The court’s decision came despite California voters’ November 2020 rejection of a proposed end to the state’s cash-bail system, the AP reported.

Since then, the ramifications of “zero bail” have come up in numerous cases.

Earlier this week, officials in San Jose and Santa Clara County slammed the policy, blaming it for the release of two homicide suspects who authorities have linked to a Halloween murder.

Alfred Castillo and Efrain Anzures are charged in connection with a Halloween slaying in San Jose, California, authorities say.

Alfred Castillo and Efrain Anzures are charged in connection with a Halloween slaying in San Jose, California, authorities say.
(San Jose Police Department )

“This is an absolute assault on the safety of San Jose residents,” Sean Pritchard, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, told Fox News in a statement.

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In August, when a homeless man in Glendale, near Los Angeles, was arrested three times in three days, in part because “zero bail” had him quickly back out in public.

In another case, the state’s no-bail policy resulted in a car-theft suspect being arrested 13 times over 12 weeks.

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