Feds step in to charge two repeat offenders released due to COVID-19

For months now, police have been complaining about the state's "zero bail" schedule set up to reduce coronavirus infections in jail. That's led to suspects being arrested over and over again because they don't have to pay any bail.

"We continue to monitor 'zero bail.' it's not working out so well for us. It really isn't," said Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly.

But now, the federal government has stepped in, filing charges against two men, who were referred by local law enforcement as examples of "zero bail fail."

David Anderson, U.S. attorney in San Francisco said, "Criminal offenders are being booked and released often on the same day."

Anderson had a warning to repeat offenders: in federal court, bail isn't guaranteed and a conviction could lead to longer time behind bars.

"Federal charges can be among the most impactful," Anderson said. "We try to direct our federal resources to the cases and the charges with the most impact."

Rocky Music was busted by Oakland police for auto theft but freed from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin while wearing a Golden State Warriors cap and protective mask.

Within a half hour, police say he carjacked a man of his Toyota Prius near the Dublin BART Station and repeatedly punched him in the face.

 Police say Music left the Warriors cap and mask  behind

Music then drove to San Ramon, where he llegedly tried to carjack a woman.

He's now facing a federal carjacking charge on the grounds that the stolen Prius was made in Japan - and traveled in foreign commerce in order to reach California.

"The federal government is watching what's going on in California," Kelly said.  

Kelly said he's grateful for the assist. But on the other hand, "I think it's unfortunate that the U.S. Attorney's office had to step in and do the state's job in regards to this particular defendant," Kelly said.

In the second federal case, Kristopher Sylvester was charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun. He had been arrested in a string of Hertz rental car thefts in San Jose and a string of school burglaries in Fremont.

Colin Cooper, a criminal defense attorney said of the feds stepping in, "It sounds like it's an end-run."

Cooper said it's unfair for defendants to potentially remain in federal custody during the pandemic, saying, "It would be deleterious to trying to squelch the COVID-19 virus that is still out running rampant in our communities."