A California sheriff is refusing to comply with a judge’s order to release 1,800 inmates from Orange County jails, including individuals who have been imprisoned for murder, due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“I have no intention of releasing any of these individuals from my custody,” said Sheriff Don Barnes, pushing back against the order. “We are going to file an appeal and we’re going to fight it and if the judge has any intent of releasing any one of these individuals, he will have to go through line by line, name by name, and tell me which ones he is ordering released.”
Please see my statement below following an order from the court mandating the release of more than 1,800 inmates from the Orange County Jail. pic.twitter.com/Y6PuIKVlPr
— OC Sheriff Don Barnes (@OCSheriffBarnes) December 12, 2020
Barnes told “Fox & Friends” that he has no intention of releasing the inmates back into the community, saying he believes they pose a “serious threat.”
Wilson’s order arose from a lawsuit filed in April by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed on behalf on inmates that sought to protect the Orange County Jail’s most vulnerable.
“Public safety does not just mean crime,” ACLU’s Jacob Reisburg said, defending Wilson’s ruling. “Public safety also means, is there a hospital bed open if you get sick? And if there’s a massive outbreak in the jail, which this depopulation order is trying to avoid, there will not be hospital capacity in Orange County for people on the outside who get COVID.”
Barnes explained that to date, some 1,400 low-level offenders have already been released since March. The remaining inmates are “serious offenders,” he said.
“Of the medically vulnerable, 90 of them are in custody for murder or attempted murder, 94 for child molestation,” Barnes added.
Wilson’s order followed reports of a recent surge in cases in the county jail. The sheriff on Friday announced an outbreak with 138 cases, which jumped to 416 by Monday. Barnes, however, noted that the facility had recently begun to test all individuals, including asymptomatic patients.
“We have inmates who are participating in different practices. Either going to medical appointments or going to court or meeting with their attorneys. These people are all from the general public and we know there’s a surge within the general public,” Barnes said.
“Many of these inmates are in pre-trial status for, or have been convicted of, violent crimes and will be released back into the community,” he added in a separate statement. “This order puts our community at substantial risk and does not take into account the impact on the victims of these crimes.”