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LA Authorities Released Robbery Suspect Just One Day Before She Allegedly Committed Another Heist

A Los Angeles woman who allegedly participated in the smash-and-grab mob robbery on Aug. 12 had just been released a day earlier, court records show.

The Los Angeles Superior Court charged Ziona Janae Famoso and three others on Aug. 25 with allegedly stealing a total of nearly $1 million in merchandise over the course of three robbing sprees at retail stores, according to the felony complaint record. Famoso had previously been arrested on July 17 and Aug. 8, but authorities released her without bail both times, once on July 18 again on Aug. 11, according to court documents.

“It’s 100% ‘catch and release,’” Eric Siddall, the deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County, said in reference to the county’s zero-bail policy, according to Spectrum News 1. “That’s basically going to be the policy of Los Angeles County for lower-level felonies and most misdemeanors. You do a smash-and-grab, you’re going to be released in time to do a second one on the same day.”

George Gascón, a district attorney backed by George Soros, introduced a measure to remove cash bail in Los Angeles in 2020. Gascón called cash bail “unsafe” and “unjust” when he first implemented the policy in 2021, according to a press release by the District Attorney’s Office.

“Money bail. . . allows wealthy people who are dangerous to purchase their freedom while those without means who pose no risk to public safety languish in jail awaiting trial,” Gascón said in the press release. “[T]here is evidence that the inability for people to obtain money for bail leads to them losing their jobs, homes and access to treatment while separating them from their children. It can destroy families and it weakens our communities.”

Gascón reinstated bail in 2022 when officers reported that they had re-arrested 646 individuals because of the zero-bail policy, according to a press release by the LA Police Department. The department reported several cases of individuals being arrested multiple times a day, including one person who was arrested twice in the same day for assault with a deadly weapon.

Lawrence Riff, a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles, reinstated the zero-bail policy in May and claimed that having a bail policy is “unconstitutional,” according to the injunction. Riff also argued that a bail requirement does not keep citizens safer.

“There is no empirical evidence that secured money bail is more effective than unsecured money bail or non-monetary conditions at assuring public safety and law abiding behavior,” Riff wrote in the injunction.

Yolo County, which is close to Sacramento, California, implemented a similar zero-bail policy in 2020, but reinstated bail after crime began to increase in the area, according to a press release by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department. Criminals released on zero bail had a recidivism rate of 78% within 180 days of their release, while those released on bail had a recidivism rate of 46% over the same time period, the department reported.

“The results of this recent study on the actual impacts of zero bail policies clearly demonstrate that victimization dramatically increases, and public safety is significantly compromised, when bail is eliminated as a tool for use by the courts,” District Attorney Jeff Reisig said, according to the press release.

Overall Los Angeles crime increased 11% between 2019 and 2022, according to a report from USA Today. Century City, a neighborhood in Los Angeles and where many recent smash-and-grab thefts have occurred, saw a 30% increase in property crime in the same time period.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the DA’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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