37 year old Eric Christopher Simmons is currently housed in the Fresno County Jail facing eight felony charges.
He was arrested on Tuesday, May 19th, for offenses such as: Spousal abuse, auto theft, looting and committing a felony while out on bail. His current bail is $95,000. This amount is lower than usual due to four of his charges deemed eligible for zero dollar bail.
Roughly six weeks ago, Simmons was arrested for misdemeanor battery. His bail was set at $5,000. He posted bond and was released from custody later that same day.
On April 23rd, deputies arrested Simmons for evading a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, possession of drugs for sale and bringing drugs into jail. All three felony and three misdemeanor charges qualified for zero dollar bail and Simmons was allowed to be released from jail less than four hours after being taken into custody. Without the zero dollar bail rule, his bail would have been set at $58,000.
On May 2nd, deputies arrested Simmons again. This time on charges of rape, robbery, battery, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of drugs for sale and an outstanding warrant for spousal abuse. His bail was set at $40,500. He posted bond one week later and was released from custody.
On March 20th, the California Judicial Council unanimously passed “Emergency Bail Rule 4.” This rule reduced bail to zero for misdemeanors and many felony crimes. It applied to current pre-trial inmates and also people who were newly booked into jail. The ruling officially took effect in the second week of April. The intent was to lengthen the time an arrestee would have to report to court. This is because COVID-19 guidelines closed the courts, thus not allowing most people to meet the legal requirements of having their court arraignment within 48 hours of their arrest. Emergency Bail Rule 4 stays in effect up to 90 days after California’s governor lifts the state of emergency order.
At the Fresno County Jail, 793 zero dollar releases have occurred from April 9th through May 20th. In that time period, there have been 104 re-bookings, which is a re-arrest / recidivism rate of 13%. This does not mean 104 different people, as some of these 793 (such as Simmons) are getting re-booked multiple times.