Seven inmates who were deemed high-risk sex offenders were released early in April by a court commissioner, triggering criticism and warnings from county law enforcement officials who said the release was not necessary because the jails were not overcrowded.
One of them was Rudy William Grajeda Magdaleno, who was released April 13 after serving 71 days in jail on a 180-day minimum sentence. Officials say he has an extensive criminal history including convictions for robbery, narcotics possession, criminal threats and child annoyance.
Santa Ana police say Magdaleno was at a parole resource center on April 17 when he exposed himself to staff members there. He had also failed to charge his GPS monitor and the device had stopped tracking him the day before.
He fled the scene, but officers found and arrested him on Thursday.
"I find it extremely troubling that this high risk sex offender was authorized for release, in spite of his significant documented criminal history," Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin said.
Santa Ana police say his convictions include a sexual assault on a mentally disabled person; breaking into a home while naked from the waist down and peeking into an 11-year-old girl's room; and entering a Santa Ana law office, sitting on the floor and beginning to masturbate while staring at a woman in the office.
The seven sex offenders were released in April by Court Commissioner Joseph Dane despite being charged with tampering with their GPS monitoring devices, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
"These kinds of high-risk sex offenders are the most dangerous kind of criminal and the most likely to re-offend," District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. "They are doing everything they can to avoid detection by the parole officers assigned to monitor them so they can potentially commit additional sex offenses. These are not the kind of people who should be getting a break.
Few of 3,500 California state prisoners released early were tested for COVID-19
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes contended that there was no reason for the early release because jails aren't currently overcrowded, adding that there are measures in place to allow for physical distancing and quarantining of inmates. Barnes reports his jail population is down by 45% since March 7.
The other six sex offenders were identified by the DA's office as:
Please see below for my statement clarifying information that was reported inaccurately. pic.twitter.com/spuD5N3ixg— OC Sheriff Don Barnes (@OCSheriffBarnes) April 29, 2020