Felon Repeatedly Released Under COVID-19 Rule Gets Arrested Twice More In 5 Days
San Joaquin County, CA – A career criminal who was already on probation for prior felonies has been arrested twice in five days after repeatedly being released from jail due to California’s new COVID-19 policy.
The Judicial Council of California voted to enact the $0 cash bail emergency order last week as part of an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus by reducing inmate populations across the state, KCRA reported.
Under the ruling, most misdemeanor offenders and so-called “lower-level” felony offenders cannot be held on bail.
The COVID-19 policy went into effect on Monday, much to the benefit of 33-year-old career criminal Jason Gaul, KTXL reported.
The four-time felon, who had been sitting in jail since February for allegedly stealing a vehicle, was allowed to walk out of jail on April 10 in anticipation of the $0 cash bail rule going into effect.
By Tuesday – just four days later – officers busted him sitting inside another vehicle he was attempting to steal, the Stockton Police Department (SPD) said in a press release.
Gaul ignored the officers’ commands and tried to fight them off when they attempted to remove him from the vehicle, so he was ultimately tased and taken into custody.
Gaul was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and vehicle tampering, but was released from jail again later that day because of the COVID-19 $0 bail order, according to KTXL.
“Now that there’s zero bail, as soon as they finish booking him…he’ll be walking out the front door again,” San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow said in a video posted to the department’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
“This is what we’re going to be dealing with,” Sheriff Withrow added. “We’ll be waiting for him when he goes to steal another vehicle.”
As the sheriff predicted, Gaul was arrested yet again on Wednesday after officers found him inside another stolen vehicle, the San Juaquin County Sheriff’s Office (SJCSO) said in a press release.
He has been charged with vandalism, committing a crime while released from custody, grand theft during a state of emergency, and grand theft of an automobile.
According to the SJCSO, this time his offenses render him ineligible for release under the $0 bail policy.
“As we have stated before, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay at home order in place, all local law enforcement agencies are working together and will continue to do so to assure the safety and security of our community,” the sheriff’s office said.