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D.A. warns public of 7 ‘high-risk’ sex offenders released in California amid coronavirus pandemic

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., (KTLA) – Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer on Tuesday issued a warning to residents after seven registered sex offenders who he said were “high-risk” were recently released from custody early amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Spitzer said the convicted men spent “just days” in jail instead of the six months required by law for those registered as sex offenders.

The men apparently had also been charged with cutting off their GPS monitors or tampering with their tracking devices.

They were released on April 7 as a result of rulings by appointed Court Commissioner Joseph Dane, Spitzer said.

The DA called the men “the most dangerous kind of criminal and the most likely to reoffend.”

“These are not the kind of people who should be getting a break,” he said.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced Tuesday that the jail population in the county has been reduced by nearly 45% since March 7.

Barnes said overcrowding is not an issue after additional steps were taken to make sure inmates were safe during the crisis, according to Spitzer.

“It is not the court’s responsibility to control the jail population by releasing these dangerous criminals back into our communities,” the DA said. “The residents of Orange County deserve to have the peace of mind that registered sex offenders are being held accountable and not just let out the front door of a jail by a court commissioner who refuses to follow the law.”

Spitzer called the decision to release the inmates “dangerous” and vowed that his office will not appear in front of Dane on parole violations involving registered sex offenders.

Both Spitzer and Barnes have also expressed frustration over a statewide order that bail be reduced to zero for many offenders.

The inmates who were released are:

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