LA County Policies Put Arrestees Right Back on the Street   


(Editor’s note: This letter ran in the Santa Monica Outlook click here  and is reprinted click here with permission.)


Dear Editor,

While SMPD’s February arrests of four felony burglary suspects at the Santa Monica “Real Real” retail store was met with well-deserved cheers, a deeper dive shows there’s less to celebrate than those initial cheers suggest.

That’s because LA County policies put all four arrestees right back on the street and, as with other recent arrests here, history suggests this will lead to more crime.

Here are the painful facts, based on news reports and publicly available law enforcement records:

The “Real Real” arrestees journeyed here from the City of Los Angeles and Carson (“Four Teens Arrested for Attempting to Burglarize Store,” February 13, 2024).

Two of the four “Real Real” felony arrestees were released within a day, after simply receiving citations. One of those two had been released from jail on other felony charges just two weeks before.

A third suspect remained jailed nearly three whole days before being released with a citation. He had been “booked and released” on other felony charges in late 2023.

Prior to that “book and release,” he’d been released twice after posting low bonds on other felony charges last year. Past arrests included both burglary and robbery charges.

The fourth suspect SMPD arrested for the “Real Real” burglary received a same-day release and was arrested by LAPD on a felony charge a few hours later. He was then released on probation in less than a week.

Bottom line: Three of the four “Real Real” burglars are documented repeat felony offenders, yet LA County’s so-called “justice” policies released them to repeat again.

Sadly, politicians and prosecutors allow such nonsense to recur, ad nauseam:

A homeless man on parole (i.e., an early release from state prison) was arrested recently in Santa Monica for attempted rape, burglary, and indecent exposure after he entered a woman’s home while she was sleeping and stood beside her bed, masturbating while touching her. County prosecutors are not pursuing the attempted rape charge (“Parolee Arrested for Burglary, Attempted Rape,” March 4, 2024).

A second attempted rape suspect, arrested here last September, had received an LA County “zero bail” release just a few months before.

SMPD arrested an individual whose shoplifting attempt turned into a felony robbery in late February. He had been released on probation for a different felony charge last year.

Also in late February, an individual was arrested, just blocks from Reed Park, on meth possession and felony weapon charges. He was released with a citation the next day, after previously being released with a citation on a different felony charge

What can Santa Monicans do? I offer the following suggestions:

LA County District Attorney George Gascon’s office handles felonies committed in Santa Monica. Gascon’s policies are well documented and so blatantly pro-criminal that 98 percent of his own prosecutors favored his recall in a 2022 internal vote. Openly oppose him and any local politicians who endorse him. Make endorsing Gascon political poison.

The LA County Probation Department and County Board of Supervisors share accountability for pro-criminal policies. The Probation Department not only advises courts on whether to grant probation, but also “supervises” individuals released on probation. LA County Probation has released from jail inmates who committed burglary, robbery, attempted murder, murder, violent hate crimes, and assault with a deadly weapon in Santa Monica. The County BOS appoints the leader of the Probation Department. Call them out.

Lindsey Horvath

Note especially that the Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors (Lindsey Horvath, who supposedly represents Santa Monica) supports rabidly pro-criminal policies. Horvath is “determined” to shut down the County jail, “depopulating” it of inmates. She also supports the Needle Exchange program in Santa Monica, was the only member of the Metro Board to vote against renewing its contract with local law enforcement, and cast a deciding vote to “defund” law enforcement in West Hollywood. A succeeding WeHo city council reversed that defunding after a public outcry.

Horvath is not up for BOS re-election in 2024 but beware of any candidate she endorses.

Finally, support local police and take their proposals and endorsements seriously. Re-arresting the same felons again and again is dangerous and disheartening work that gives police officers an insider view of the “revolving door” of criminal activity that politicians and prosecutors continue to allow.


Peter DiChellis

Santa Monica

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