Row of police cars

Prop 47 – The Aftermath

A Los Angeles gas station owner and LAPD are looking for a group of men who robbed a local downtown Chevron just after being released from jail. While the suspects have not yet been identified, security camera footage shows that they were wearing white bracelets like those given to inmates at nearby Men’s Central Jail. The gas station is just a few blocks from the jail. Police are combing lists of recently released inmates in hopes of finding a match with the men on the footage.

While the clerk was distracted with other duties, the thieves opened the transaction drawer and cleaned everything of value from the gas station, including the entire cash register and keys to the gas pumps. The crime was discovered when the shift changed and there were no keys to open doors or perform other change-of-shift routines.

Prop 47 Explained

Detectives believe that these robbers were not out on bail, but rather as a result of Proposition 47. This law allows nonviolent felonies to be charged instead as misdemeanors, which means that many would-be felons are released from jail rather than staying in custody. These people appear to be at high risk of reoffending when released from jail.

Detective Steve Franssen of LAPD expressed frustration with the repeat crimes that are increasingly taking up valuable police time as felons are given lighter charges, lighter sentences, and released on probation only to immediately reoffend. “It is extremely time-consuming for us,” said Franssen.

Meanwhile the owners of the gas station are also upset, as they have lost a great deal of money to criminals that might otherwise have been in jail. Even more frustrating, no suspects have been identified at this time.

Bail Bonds

While people charged with felonies generally need bail bonds to be released, people who are accused of misdemeanors are often released on their own recognizance. This can be a challenge to the legal system in the wake of Proposition 47, which allows some felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors. Bail bonds companies take responsibility for the people that they bail out of jail, and help them to stay on the straight and narrow until their court date. It is easy for offenders to reoffend if allowed out without this crucial supervision and accountability.

On the other hand, many people charged with felonies are innocent and yet unable to defend themselves due to a lack of finances. Bail bonds companies also help these people. A bail bond means that people can leave jail and prepare their case, attain legal representation, and continue to live their lives while they await trial. Bail bonds are an important part of the legal system, and we all suffer when this crucial step is left out.

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