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Mission Viejo City Council Supports Sheriff’s Appeal to Court Ruling Requiring the Release of Inmates

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To maintain public safety, the City Council in an emergency session on Monday voted to authorize the City Attorney to file or join an amicus brief supporting Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes’ appeal to a court ruling requiring the local jail population be cut in half, a move that would release dangerous and violent criminals back into the community.  

Despite the Sheriff having plans for responding to COVID-19 issues within the jail system, the trial Court ordered him to reduce the inmate population by approximately 50% - which would result in the release of more than 1,800 inmates. 

A large-scale release of these people, as directed by the Court, would pose a substantial risk to Orange County communities.  The Court’s reduction mandate would also essentially cap the jail population and stop the intake of new inmates.  As a result, cities like Mission Viejo would be unable to book people who’ve been arrested into jail.   

“Public safety has always been our top priority,” said Mayor Brian Goodell. “Our City Council wholeheartedly supports Sheriff’s Barnes’ appeal to keep these criminals off our streets and his plan to appropriately respond to coronavirus issues in the jail system.” 


Submitted by Scott Garven on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 6:09 pm


What can we the people do? This was an issue where I currently live.

Mail theft
vehicle break ins
vehicle fuel scavenging
homeless leople sleeping on property
women harassed at night

I'm really wanting to become more involved with initiatives on community safety.

What could I do?

Submitted by Christopher Lance on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 6:11 pm


Thank you for supporting Sheriff Barnes and his stand against releasing criminals back onto our streets. We are behind you 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is how it's done. If you don't stand up now, we stand to lose it all.

Thank you for your intestinal fortitude. It will not go unnoticed.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Submitted by Charlotte Juricich on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 6:30 pm


Thank you Sheriff Barne’s, Mayor Goodell and the city council for standing up for all of the law abiding citizens of Mission Viejo.

Submitted by Joe McFaul on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 6:31 pm


A waste of money and a very bad idea. The sheriff should be supporting good pandemic health measures instead of attacking them. Same with city council.

How much will the amicus brief cost?

Submitted by jane clark on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 7:25 pm


Is this because it is next to impossible for inmates to adhere to "social distancing" Covid-19 guidelines due to the fact inmates are housed within close quarters of each other i.e. sharing a cell with another inmate, showering, eating meals, etc.
What's the real reason. If the informed public knows the "real reason" then perhaps the informed public can have some influence, one way or the other, regarding this decision.
Where will these "released" inmates transition too? How do we know if they have been, will be, or intend to be infected, already, with the Covid-19 virus thus possibly infecting the healthy general population?
Do we "cage" house them up, like Trump, Obama did for the necessary quarantine period that was found necessary to do to the many immigrants trying to gain legal/illegal access into the USA, so as to protect the greater ALL by sacrificing the small few? If need be can this situation be brought to the attention of California's Supreme Court? Feel free to email me with pros and cons and most importantly with the "real reason" why this is being ordered by the local Court.

Submitted by John Rochefort on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 9:30 pm


It would be a huge injustice to all of us home owners in Mission Viejo including the south OC to allow this element of society to have free rein of their criminal behavior amongst us and our families.
We must fight this fight very hard


John J Rochefort

Submitted by Remo on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 10:35 pm


Please stop fear mongering. People who are incarcerated in jail are not a different species, so stop talking about them as if they aren't our friends and neighbors. You're not worried about public safety if you support overcrowding jails in the middle of a pandemic.

Submitted by Des on Wed, 12/23/2020 - 10:58 pm


Wow!! Thanks for promoting safety!!,
Isn’t that what taxes pay for?
What’s happening to us??? Civil liberties stolen while we watch!!
God help us!!

Submitted by Roberta Cooke on Thu, 12/24/2020 - 1:41 am


To Whom It May Concern,

Why would anyone in their right mind think for one minute that they should jeopardize the safety of the families and children of our community! Build more jails, do without some of the luxuries of your offices and the community...but First and FOREMOST is to protect the citizens of this wonderful community that work hard, follow the rules and regulations and pay their taxes and support this community! I’ve had a violation of my children, my husband and my safety and I know what it is like to live with those memories and fears for all the people I live and care for! The people that are in jail broke the law and who’s to say that whatever they did this time to be put into jail won’t even be worse next time because our current representatives thinks the jails are too crowded and these criminals would be better off out on the streets to jeopardize our honest, supportive, paying citizens of our community! Maybe these same people who are even suggesting such a dumb thing should move them into their homes to see how well they would behave and how comfortable their families would feel sharing their homes with convicted criminals! Let’s hope someone wakes up and realizes what a dumb move that would be!

Submitted by J on Thu, 12/24/2020 - 2:16 am


"...would release dangerous and violent criminals"

Patently BS fearmongering. JAIL is for minor offenses and those awaiting sentencing. These individuals are either nonviolent or are not convicted of a crime.
Or are we assuming guilt until proven innocence?

Meanwhile, jails operating at regular capacity have proven to be community superspreaders. The city council is jeopardizing public health and safety for political points.

Submitted by Michael Urratio on Thu, 12/24/2020 - 5:57 am


Thank you for protecting out community and My Family. I support Sheriff Barnes, The City Mission Viejo and my city council . Thank you

Submitted by Todd Alan Jacobs on Thu, 12/24/2020 - 7:20 am


Mission Viejo is a great city, but it is located in a state that puts wasteful spending on a bullet train, pensions and illegal immigrants ahead of security and freedoms of its law abiding citizens and legal residents. The policies of this state has turned a paradise into a broken down remnant. There is no common sense, and releasing criminals back in to society to prey on new victims is a dereliction of the courts' and politicians' duties. It's sad that it has reached this point and continues to spiral downward. Keep up the fight Sheriff and MV.

Submitted by Susan Downing on Thu, 12/24/2020 - 2:08 pm


Thank you Sheriff Barnes and the city council. Please keep our families safe. One of the reasons we moved here was because Mission Viejo was "one of the safest cities in the US". Please keep it that way. Let us know what we can do as concerned citizens to keep it safe.

Submitted by Amy Dalphy on Fri, 12/25/2020 - 11:50 am


The order is for release of almost 3,500 incarcerated persons serving a sentence for non-violent offenses, who do not have to register as a sex offender, and who had 60 days or less to serve. Sheriff Barnes, and MV city council by supporting him, are lying to us. Prisons are not managing COVID safely which increases the risk to us all. Instead of lying to us, Sheriff Barnes should be working on the plan to improve the prison situation and fulfill his duty to protect and to serve. Shame on the city council for wasting taxpayer funds on this political move designed to sway scared, elderly citizens who no longer read the full story.

Submitted by C Guerrero on Sun, 12/27/2020 - 3:59 pm


Thank You Sheriff Barnes and Mission Viejo for protecting citizens first. CA gov't needs to begin to choose right instead of wrong, and so do those persons currently in jail or prison. Public safety is a higher priority than a virus that produces less deaths than common flu.

Submitted by KB on Sun, 12/27/2020 - 4:06 pm


Yes! Thank you for supporting Sheriff Barnes! These ARE NOT just non-violent people being released as others have mentioned. These are people who have committed violent crimes - 1800 of them! I have seen the memo. They cannot be released back into the city. How insane is this? They broke the law and deputies risked their lives to put them in jail! They should NOT be released. Somehow, it is now worse if you host a party at your home or not wear a mask than it is if you commit a violent crime! Wake up America!

Submitted by D Beattie on Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:20 pm


This is money well spent. The prison and jail system needs to deal with the Covid there and keep the criminals locked up and away from our homes.
Those that say otherwise obviously haven't been the victim of crimes or violence against them. Yes they are people...so am I and my family!

Submitted by Joe McFaul on Thu, 01/14/2021 - 5:29 pm


Will the City cCouncil now pass a resolution censuring Sheriff Barnes mishandling of evidence releasing criminals i=onto the streets?

If no why not? I’ volunteer to draft the resolution.

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