Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Tuesday that she would not be able to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home orders because she was too busy re-arresting accused criminals set free under the state’s new “zero-dollar bail” policy.
Mims appeared on the Trevor Carey Show, discussing the challenges facing law enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the economic hardship. She pointed out that government employees were also vulnerable to the economic damage, because the decline in tax revenues meant that state and local governments would cut services.
Carey asked her: “I’ve heard multiple sheriffs around the nation state they will not enforce their governors’ shelter-in-place orders. Is that your position?
“That is my position. We do not stop the public to find out what they’re doing when they’re not sheltering in place. We don’t ask those questions, we don’t ask if they’re ‘essential’. We’ve got our hands full trying to re-arrest people that are released due to zero-dollar bail. So we’ve got other things that are on our mind that are more important than stopping normally law-abiding citizens.”
Fresno is the fifth-largest city in California and the hub of the state’s agricultural Central Valley. As of Wednesday, the county had recorded 1,014 coronavirus cases and 13 deaths.
California adopted zero-dollar bail after criminal justice reform advocates argued that cash bail was discriminatory.
California began “phase two” of Gov. Newsom’s re-opening plan late last week, with limited reopening of businesses.
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