SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The Santa Clara County Jail’s revolving door allows suspects to sashay in and out of jail, giving criminals freedom to carry out even more crimes, San Jose’s mayor told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said his office looked closely at the jail’s “spinning turnstile,” and identified repeat offenders who were arrested more than 30 times within the past 28 months. Some serial criminals committed homicides while out on bail.
“This has frustrated our police officers. They arrest somebody, they take them to jail, they wait two or three hours through the booking process, and (the same day) they are right back on the street,” Liccardo said.
Liccardo and community members are now urging Santa Clara County officials to abandon its pandemic-era experiment with emptying jails. County decisions have directly produced “catch-and-release” policies that allow dangerous, predatory criminals to avoid incarceration, according to the Mayor’s Office.
“County officials continue to pursue an explicit policy of ‘depopulating the jails’ that has pushed violent criminals into our streets. We urge the county to abandon its policy of emptying the jails,” the Mayor’s Office wrote.
Between January 2020 and April 2022, more than 100 people were arrested or cited more than 10 times.”We have identified 43 individuals who have been arrested and brought to jail more than 10 times. Some of those folks have been arrested more than 30 times,” Liccardo said.
Liccardo asserted, “The data shows that a few hundred offenders commit an enormous share of crime, often without any period of detention that would have otherwise interrupted or at least slowed their pattern of rampant criminal activity.”
Liccardo showed reporters mugshots of two men, accused killer Frankie Pollesel and suspected child molester Francisco Lopez Torres, as examples of the “spinning turnstile” problem.
On June 15, 2020, prosecutors filed charges against Pollesel for stealing a vehicle and pistol-whipping the victim, but he was released from jail on zero-dollar bail. On September 29, 2020, Pollesel committed several robberies in San Francisco and was caught with a stolen car in Santa Clara County. While out on zero-dollar bail in January of 2021, Pollesel committed two homicides, Liccardo said.
Torres, 29, is accused of molesting a 10-year-old girl. He was arrested on child molestation charges, but was released from jail the following day. Torres failed to appear in court weeks later and fled from California. Police found Torres hiding in Texas. San Jose police extradited him back to Santa Clara County in November of 2021. In December, despite being a flight risk, Torres was released from jail after posting $100,000 bail.
“These are two very egregious examples of the failure of this system. It’s certainly failing justice,” the mayor said.
Liccardo also displayed a photo of 41 pounds of methamphetamine and one pound of fentanyl that was allegedly smuggled into San Jose by Angel Torres on March 16, 2022. Torres’ drug stockpile was worth millions of dollars on the street. But when it came time to booked Torres into jail, he was released without paying a dime for bail.
San Jose’s mayor called on county officials to “recognize the cost to public safety of this ‘catch and release’ system of justice.”
More ‘egregious’ repeat offenders
Oscar Soto – Murder Suspect
On January 10, 2021, 41 year-old Oscar Soto was arrested on suspicion of murder. After prosecutors filed manslaughter charges, he was released on his own recognizance and fled to Mexico. He remains at large.
Eefrain Xavier Anzures and Alfred Castillo – Halloween Murder suspects
On Halloween of 2021, 27 year-old Eefrain Xavier Anzures was arrested for murder. The victim was driving a car and collided with several vehicles. Two men in one of the damaged cars followed him to Great Oaks Parkway and shot him. Anzures was charged with murder. Alfred Castillo was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact. Days after they were arrested and charged, Anzures was released for home confinement and his accomplice, Castillo, was released on supervised own recognizance.
Raymond Joseph Calderon – Double Homicide Suspect / Officer-Involved Shooting
On June 21, 2022, Raymond Joseph Calderon shot and killed a man in East San Jose, then traveled to Modesto and killed his ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Michelle Rose Gonzales. Calderon drove back to San Jose, barricaded himself and opened fire at pursuing police. Calderon had more than half a dozen domestic-violence charges and convictions in Santa Clara County dating back to 2018, including assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats, violating a domestic-violence restraining order, and evading police. Calderon had an active warrant out for his arrest following a breached restraining order Gonzales had against him before the slaying.
Salvador Pantoja – Double Murder Suspect
On June 12, 2022, 33 year-old Salvador Pantoja used an illegal firearm to shoot and kill his estranged wife, Erica Pantoja, and local security guard, Marco Carral Duran, who attempted to intervene, in a San Jose apartment complex. Erica Pantoja was in the process of divorcing her husband. Authorities said that at the time of the attack, Pantoja was on supervised release for an unrelated drug crime. Pantoja fatally shot himself after murdering his wife.
Harry Goularte – Child Molestation Suspect
Harry Goularte was arrested on suspicion of molesting a 4-year-old boy hundreds of times at a daycare. On February 25, 2022, Goularte was arraigned and was released from without bail, over the objection of the DA. The boy’s relative, UFC Champion Cain Velasquez, was later arrested for allegedly trying to murder Goularte after the suspected child molester was freed.
Fernando Lopez – Double Murder Suspect
On November 22, 2020, 32 year-old Fernando Lopez allegedly stabbed and killed multiple residents of a San Jose church’s homeless shelter. He previously committed a violent felony in San Joaquin County and had violated his felony probation by committing domestic violence in Santa Clara County in 2020. He was released without bail. Less than five months later, he murdered two people and wounded three at the Grace Baptist Church, according to police.
Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranzo – Murder Suspect
On February 28, 2019, 24 year-old Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranzo was under the influence of methamphetamine when he murdered Bambi Larson in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood of San Jose, according to police. Carranzo had been arrested dozens of time in the past for methamphetamine use, theft, and violent crimes. County health experts diagnosed him with psychosis. Carranzo was deported to El Salvador but he illegally re-entered the US and made his way back to Santa Clara County before Larson was slain.