(RightWing.org) – Lenient liberal judges are in the spotlight again after a California man accused of killing another driver as he tried to evade police was released without bail — and promptly went on the run. The state’s far-left legislature passed a no-bail law in 2020, during the pandemic. Since then it’s been steadily expanded and widely used by leftist judges. It’s also been linked to a string of defendants who took the chance to flee from justice.
Reckless Driver Caused Fatal Smash During Police Chase
On November 24, 2023, 22-year-old Victor Duartemacias and another suspect were driving a stolen Dodge Charger in southern Los Angeles County when they were spotted by LA County Sheriff’s Department officers. Instead of stopping, Duartemacias took off at high speed, leading the deputies on a dangerous pursuit that ended when he slammed into a truck driven by 56-year-old Pedro Barrera at the intersection of Long Beach Blvd and Artesia Blvd. Barrera lost his left arm in the collision and died in intensive care six weeks later. Duartemacias was arrested at the scene and charged with felony evading a peace officer with great bodily injury.
Unfortunately, when Duartemacias appeared in Compton Court on December 27, he was released on his own recognizance (OR). Under California law, anyone charged with a criminal offense can be granted an OR release unless the offense is punishable by death, releasing them endangers public safety or there are no “reasonable assurances” that the defendant will appear in court. Duartemacias’s alleged offense isn’t a capital crime, and clearly, the court didn’t think either of the other conditions applied because he was released without bail and told to appear in court again on January 22.
Why Was He Released?
When the court sat to hear Duartemacias’s case last Monday, the defendant was nowhere to be seen — and his attorney said he hadn’t been able to contact him in two days. The former prosecutor said it was “not at all surprising” that he hadn’t shown up, adding that he didn’t understand why he’d been released without bail. Unfortunately, that seems to be the norm in LA County as of late.
While an OR release isn’t automatic under state law, the county grants it to almost all arrestees. When they don’t stand to lose any money by skipping bail, some — like Duartemacias — will inevitably decide facing justice for their crimes is something they can do without. Sadly, even though many Democrats are horrified at how California’s legal system works these days, the state shows no sign of changing its policies.
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