California ‘bail reform’: Man arrested and released same day keeps being arrested for stealing cars

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LOS ANGELES, CA– A man from Huntington Park who was arrested and released in the same day from jail due to the coronavirus pandemic is facing a slew of felony charges for stealing cars. 

According to authorities, Jose Enrique Esquivel, 24, began stealing cars immediately after being released. In fact, on May 14th, he was arrested twice.  Prosecutors are now alleging that Esquivel has stolen over a dozen cars between the months of March and June.

According to reports, Esquivel was initially arrested back on March 30th, however, due to the COVID-19 emergency bail schedule, he was released the same day. After his March 30th arrest and release, Esquivel was again arrested and released on 11 separate occasions between April 28th and June 15th.

According to a news release, Ricardo Santiago, a public information officer for the department said:

“The defendant was again arrested for either driving or attempting to steal a truck, but released on April 28th, May 8th, twice on May 14th, May 20th, May 23rd, May 27th, June 6th, June 8th, June 13th, and June 15th.”

Most recently, Esquivel was taken into custody again on June 23rd, just eight days after his previous arrest, for stealing a truck. This time, he was kept in custody because the emergency release fund had ended.

For this charge, he has pleaded not guilty. His bail has been set at $550,000 and his hearing from this week has a continuance date for September 3rd. 

According to Deputy District Attorney Alexander Karkanen, Esquivel faces 14 felony counts of driving or taking a vehicle without consent, and one count of second-degree burglary. If convicted, he could face 17 years in prison. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, bail was set to $0 for most misdemeanors and low-level felonies in L.A. County, in order to reduce the local prison population. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Information Bureau (SIB), sent out a notification to help the police locate additional auto theft victims from Esquivel’s crimes.

The statement also accuses Esquivel of exploiting the modification to the Los Angeles County Bail Schedule during his crime spree. The victims of the known thefts reside in southeast Los Angeles County, including the city of L.A.

The Sheriff’s department also said that those who were victimized by Esquivel, had modest incomes and most of them depended on their cars as their sole means of transportation.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Trina Schrader called Esquivel:

“A prolific car thief who victimized vehicle owners with modest income.”

She also said:

“Suspect Esquivel showed little regard for the owners of these vehicles, who many times depended on these stolen vehicles as their sole means of transportation.”

The District Attorney’s (DA) office said that the felony complaints include allegations that Esquivel committed most of his crimes while out on his own recognizance, and that he was previously convicted of driving or taking a vehicle without consent twice back in 2017, and once in both 2018 and 2019.

Anyone with any information on additional victims or who believes they may be a victim of Esquivel’s crimes are asked to call the Taskforce for Regional Auto-theft Prevention at 800-299-8727.

The $0 bail order from the Judicial Council said that its order has helped reduce jail populations by more than 20,000. As of June, the order was being phased out due to a wide variance in the number of COVID-19 cases across California’s 58 counties.

Justice Marsha Slough said in a statement:

“Individual counties could enact their own policy where necessary to protect the health of the community, the courts, and the incarcerated.”

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This is not the first time criminals have taken advantage of the $0 bail order. Back in May, Law Enforcement Today brought you a story of a similar incident.

GLENDORA, CA – Talk about tying the hands of law enforcement.

Police in Glendora, California say that late last month, they arrested a man three different times in just one day.  And they say you can thank California’s new zero-bail policy. 

On Wednesday, April 29th they got a call around 8:28 a.m. that a man was trying to break into a vehicle on the 1400 block of South Grand Avenue.

When they got there, they say they found 24-year-old Dijon Landrum of from Monterey Park trying to drive away in a stolen vehicle from the East Los Angeles area.

On top of that, they said he had stolen property and narcotics on him.

But their hands were tied.  Thanks to California zero-bail policy, they had to release him with only a citation.

The Glendora Police Department says an hour later, police got a call of unknown man in the area of Bennett and Pennsylvania.  The caller said he was carrying a box and was walking through the front yards of homes.

Guess who it was?  Landrum.  They said he had a box full of stolen property.

Guess what happened next?  He was issued a citation and released.

Later that evening, they got a call around 8:50 p.m. that a vehicle that had been stolen out of a parking lot on the 1300 block of South Grand Ave.

Police were able to track it down and found it driving along the westbound 100 freeway in La Puente.

With the help of LA County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol officers began chasing the vehicle. 

When the chase ended in Pasadena, guess who they found driving it?

Landrum was arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle and for evading officers… and once again, thanks to the California Zero-Bail Policy, Landrum was released with his third citation of the day. 

Police say the zero cash bail emergency mandate in the state is a huge challenge for law enforcement as alleged criminals are released back into the public… again and again.

Here’s another example.

Recently, two inmates who were freed under the zero bail implementation found themselves arrested again shortly after their respective releases.  

In Dublin, California, 32-year-old Rocky Lee Music was rearrested for carjacking on April 22nd after being released from the Santa Rita Jail on April 19th.

However, the crime was allegedly committed about 40 minutes after Music was released on the 19th, according to authorities in Alameda County.

What landed Music’s first arrest, where he was processed through the jail and released on April 19th, was suspicion of car theft.

Just what exactly was going through the suspect’s mind to think that carjacking someone is a great move minutes after getting released from jail for suspected car theft?

Who knows; maybe he just missed being in jail.

In Fresno, California, another inmate who was released under zero bail found themselves in custody again on April 22nd. Less than a week after his release from the Fresno County Jail on April 10th, 27-year-old Owen Aguilar had allegedly set nine separate fires on April 16th.

https://twitter.com/MikeBoudreaux4/status/1253533979992453121

Apparently, Aguilar was originally arrested and facing charges for felony animal cruelty, before he was released from jail on the 16th. If convicted of the animal cruelty charge, Aguilar could be facing three years in prison.

However, after the alleged arson episode, he could now be looking at nearly 46 years in prison. Aguilar is accused of setting the likes of a vagrant’s tent, a shopping cart, and even commercial dumpsters ablaze.

Although, I’m certain whomever had their tent set on fire and whomever had their car jacked are glad to know that suspected criminals are being shielded from getting sick in prisons.

You would think that folks in California would have taken a gander at the hot mess that New York put themselves into when they rolled out bail reform at the onset of 2020. 

The City of New York has also let a massive number of inmates out of jail during this health emergency.

If you’ll recall back to before everything the entire country did or talked about revolved around the virus, New York was doing something similar with what they called “bail reform.” 

Do you remember how bail reform was working out for the City?

In case you don’t, let me remind you: It was going poorly.

The NYPD and all their unions said that basically the city had “revolving door justice,” where they would arrest a bad guy, a bad guy would go say hi to the judge, and the bad guy would be back on the street to continue his crime-loving life, sometimes all in the same day.

Law Enforcement Today reported on many examples of that exact scenario, where the criminals let out of jail under bail reform would commit crimes again right away.

And now, we have the same situation, for a different reason.

Inmates are being let out of jail because of COVID-19 concerns, but they’re getting right back to that good old crime life almost immediately.

On April 10, The New York Post reported that 1,500 inmates had been released from jails in New York since March 16. This brought New York’s incarceration level to the lowest it’s been in 70 years.

Three hundred of those released were facing violent felony charges.

Sunday, The New York Post also reported that at least 50 of those same inmates have made their way back to jail since being released.

In some cases, those who had returned to jail have already been released yet again.

The Legal Aid Society and Bronx Defenders has been working to get inmates released since drug treatment program transfers by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) have been halted. 

After the last round of released inmates, Legal Aid Society lawyer Elon Harpaz said in a statement:

“We are glad that the court recognized that their continued incarceration infringed upon basic due process rights and placed them each in grave danger of contracting COVID-19.

For DOCCS to have left them in limbo, with no end in sight to their incarceration, waiting to be infected with COVID-19, worried that they might become seriously ill or even die, is unconscionable.”

Well, they certainly don’t have to worry about being incarcerated anymore. The citizens of New York, however, do have to worry about their freedom as they continue to victimize communities.

But, hey. At least the criminals are safe from COVID-19, right? Since they’re not in the jails where it could possibly spread, they’re surely staying home and social distancing properly.

Which is clearly evident by the ones who have already committed more crimes.

Tina Luongo, the Legal Aid Society’s attorney in charge of criminal cases, said in a statement:

“Our clients who are seriously ill or at a high risk if exposed to the virus should not face a death sentence on Rikers Island before a jury has even had a chance to judge their guilt or innocence, regardless of the charges against them.”

The group is working on getting inmates released from state prisons as well.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported on some of the most insane cases:

“Include[d in those released is] a Rikers Island inmate initially jailed for allegedly setting his girlfriend’s door on fire and choking her mother, who was released early only to return to the Bronx apartment and allegedly threaten to kill the whole family.

Another prisoner who is accused of assaulting a Department of Homeless services officer and was later set free was arrested for punching an agency sergeant just two days after his release, records show.

Yet another, who was serving a 60-day sentence for theft, was charged with burglarizing Queens’ Singh Farm grocery store to the tune of more than $9,000 three weeks after his early release.”

Daeshawn Sharperson is the 31-year-old man who torched his girlfriend’s door, pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, which got him out of felony charges. He received a four-month sentence. He was among about 100 inmates released early on March 26.

Police say eight days after the release, he went back to his girlfriend’s house and allegedly threatened to kill her family. He also attacked people riding on the bus on two separate occasions. He is back in jail, for now, on $10,000 bail.

Wilmer Colindres is the 39-year old man who attacked a DHS officer. Court records show he was jailed for assault and harassment last November. The kind gentleman sexually assaulted a physician while in jail, and a charge of forcible touching was added to his list. 

Colindres was released on March 24. Two days later, he was sent back to jail for punching the sergeant. He was released again..

Rainesh Abudin is the 18-year old who was in jail for multiple burglary and grand larceny charges. He was released on March 20 after requesting a “mercy petition for medical reasons.” On April 8, he robbed the store in Queens. Police say he broke in through the back door of Singh Farm grocery store and stole $9,281 from the store’s safe. He has not yet been taken back into custody.

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