FACT CHECK: Post About Los Angeles Zero Bail Policy Is Misleading

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Instagram purports to show a list of crimes, including human trafficking and sexual battery, that will be “set free as of today” in Los Angeles.

Verdict: Misleading

The post misrepresents Los Angeles County’s zero-bail policy, which was reinstated by a preliminary injunction in May 2023 and does not cover capital offenses, according to local outlet KTLA. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said they were aware of the injunction.

Fact Check:

Violent crime dropped more than 10% in Los Angeles through May 20, according to police data, the Los Angeles Times reported. The data follows the Los Angeles City Council’s recent 8-4 vote to approve controversial $277,917 robot dogs for police department use, The Hill reported.

“Okay boys and girls or he she they, let the craziness begin, this is a list of bon [sic] violent crimes in LA that peiple [sic] will be set free on as of today, what are your thoughts,” the Instagram post, which has received over 300 likes, purports.

The claim is misleading. The post misrepresents Los Angeles County’s zero-bail policy, which applies to nonviolent, low-level offenses and was initially instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to local outlet KTLA. The policy was meant to be temporary and was aimed at reducing prison populations to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the outlet indicated.

Although the policy expired in June 2020, it was later extended and remained in effect until Jul. 1, 2022. The zero-bail policy was then reinstated on May 16, 2023, via a preliminary injunction filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. (RELATED: Post Misleads On Illegal Immigration)

The injunction reiterates that the zero-bail policy does not apply to capital offenses, individuals who are otherwise ineligible for bail, those who have an open, unresolved criminal case or are the subject of an arrest warrant, or those who have an offense listed under Penal Code 1270.1(a).

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release after the policy was reinstated, indicating that it applied to both their department and the Los Angeles Police Department. The press release also noted that the policy did not apply to serious or violent offenses, including sexual offenses, domestic violence, and offenses involving weapons.

“The Department is aware of the preliminary injunction regarding the cash bail system, and of course will comply with any court-ordered bail schedule,” a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told Check Your Fact in an email.

“The County is also working with the court and other stakeholders to explore ways to reduce the number of people held before arraignment because they can’t afford bail and to provide the Sheriff greater release options to safely reduce the jail population, while always prioritizing public safety,” they said.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter