Judge Releases Gun Suspect Within 6 Hours, Police Chief Furious
A felon allegedly in possession of an assault rifle is back on the streets, released in just a matter of hours with no bail.
This is the second time this has happened in less than a month and the San Jose Police Chief is furious with the judges and the court system. He said it’s all stemming from nationwide bail reform measures.
“Of course he’s a danger to the public,” Chief Eddie Garcia said. “My officers are sacrificing a lot to have an individual with this type of firepower to get released back within 6 hours later, is shameful.”
Eddie Garcia was arrested earlier in the week and was charged with being a felon in possession of illegal guns.
“A short barrel rifle, a silencer, ammunition, an assault rifle, an extended magazine, with half a kilo of cocaine and child endangerment,” the chief said.
A jail magistrate released Garcia unsupervised or soon after his arrest. It was the second similar release by a Santa Clara County judge in less than a month.
“There’s a progressive movement across the United States,” said former prosecutor Steven Clark.
He said that because of the bail reform movement, judges are now releasing more suspects soon after their arrest, with no bail.
“There’s a Supreme Court case that that says courts are required to use the least restrictive means for pre-trial release,” said Clark.
The chief understands that, but he argues that Garcia shouldn’t qualify because of the illegal firepower he allegedly had.
“This doesn’t get any worse. He had a silencer,” Chief Garcia said. “A criminal dealing drugs had a silencer. You see that in the movies!”
The chief challenges the judges to go out in the community to explain why they’re letting felons loose, with this kind of firepower.
The judges in both cases are James Stoelker and James Towery. Late Friday, the court said the presiding judge would answer NBC Bay Area’s questions on pre-trial release, but only in writing.
They were sent over at 4:30 p.m.
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