Sunday Commentary: Yolo DA Continues to Present Anecdotes on Zero Bail


Every time the Yolo County DA has put out a press release on someone committing a new crime after being released, they have failed to put the story in proper context.  Nowhere do they let the media or the readers know that these cases represent less than five percent of all released.

The latest press release from Yolo DA Jeff Reisig highlighted the three recent most accounts of recidivism—but again without any context.

The press release states: “May 15, 2020 – This past week, three more individuals previously released from custody as a result of California Judicial Council’s Statewide Emergency ‘0’ Bail Schedule were charged with new crimes. The ‘0’ Bail Schedule became effective April 13, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It then provides the details on each case.

For example: “Prior to the ‘0’ Bail Schedule, Durant would have remained in custody on bail due to his felony violation of probation. Durant remains out-of-custody and his next court date is set for September 24, 2020. On that date he will be arraigned on the additional drug related charges.”

The DA makes an interesting point here—prior to the bail schedule, the DA presumes that Durant would have remained in custody on bail. But actually, as we know, the reality is that if Durant were wealthy he could have bailed out, while if he is poor, he would have been remanded to custody where he would wait for his hearings, even though he has a presumption of innocence and he would be exposed to the risks of COVID.

The DA here fails to address the key problem with bail—if you are rich, there seems to be the presumption that you are less of a threat to the community then if you are poor.

On the other hand, during a webinar this week a different DA, San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, pointed out that as a public defender “I saw day in and day out where people had a price tag put on their freedom.  People who were poor and innocent or poor and presented no public safety risk but were detained because of their poverty.”

But wealthy people accused of very serious crimes were able to buy their freedom.

“Money bail is a system that privileges the wealthy and the powerful over the poor and the innocent,” he said.  “We have to change that system.”

But of course there is more to this story.

The Yolo DA has never been forthcoming about the actual recidivism rate.

Thanks to the sheriff’s presentation before the board of supervisors, we now know that, as of Tuesday, there were only four cases of recidivism in the county out of 117 people who were released.

In the worst-case scenario then, these three additional people committing new crimes, at worst, pushes it to 7 out of 120. That is five percent. Given that the overall recidivism rate is somewhere between 50 and 70 percent, I would say that we are doing fairly well.

Here are the seven individuals who have committed new crimes:

  • Jacob Dakota James
  • Dwayne Durant
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • Chris Jackson
  • Vladimir Moscaliuc
  • Shaun Lamar Moore
  • Julian Matta Garcia

As we noted earlier this week, the DA has now put out a total of six press releases on these seven cases. Each time someone released has committed a new crime, the DA has issued a press release.

But they have never put it into context. We never hear about the 95 percent of cases that do not result in a new crime.

Robin Steinberg, a former public defender who founded the Bail Project, spoke at a virtual event in LA last night and remarked that “this is exactly the kind of distraction that we see being raised in the media when somebody gets bail and then something bad happens—no one talks about the 9000 people who got released who went home to their families and were able to thrive and they went back to their jobs and did better.”

Earlier she pointed out, “Don’t get distracted by the cherry-picking of the bad cases—the person arrested three times in one day under the zero bail policy type stories. These are exceptions and they obscure the larger story of the human costs of jailing people because they can’t pay bail—and they obscure the successes of the overwhelming majority of the people who return to their families and their communities, have better life and better case outcomes when they’re out.”

This is exactly what DA Reisig continues to do—as we pointed out earlier this week—to cherry pick bad data.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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One thought on “Sunday Commentary: Yolo DA Continues to Present Anecdotes on Zero Bail”

  1. Eric Gelber

    A familiar tactic of those whose intentions are deceit and obfuscation rather than enlightenment. (Think Trump and crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.)

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