Letter: Puzzling Press Releases by the Yolo County District Attorney

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By Susan Pelican

Local news coverage on Wednesday, January 6 reports another press release from the DA that “over 526 crimes were committed as a result of the $0 bail program.”

This assertion is puzzling as the District Attorney’s Office has never since the inception of the program, on March 26, 2020, objected to the $0 bail program.

In June, when the County decided to keep the $0 bail policy after asking all stakeholders to comment, the Assistant DA, Melinda Aiello, wrote to the Court

“we recognize the on-going need to maintain a reasonable jail population and after consultation with County Counsel encourage the court to return to its Emergency and Provisional Bail Schedule that became effective March 26, 2020.”

Both the presiding Judge and the DA have the power to object to $0 bail whenever a person is arraigned, but

In no single arraignment since then has the DA  (or any judge) objected to $0 bail for a defendant..

Moreover, Yolo County’s Public Defender, Tracie Olson, has said: “We know that people have been released on zero bail and been rearrested. But most are re-arrested on misdemeanors”  or “probation violations,” which don’t amount to a crime.”

The DA’s press release leaves out another important measure—COVID cases and deaths—which $0 bail was meant to cover.

And in Yolo, according to the latest update, with a jail population of 225, and one-quarter of the in-custody population tested, there were zero positive tests.  Yolo County has a remarkable record in that respect—for prisoner AND staff safety.

We must be wary of lock-em-up programs which are used  and promoted by this DA to increase our fear and his power/budget in these times.

Susan Pelican is a longtime Yolo County resident.


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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