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Orange County Deputies bring Lawsuit to Stop Early Release of Inmates
The union representing around 1,800 deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department filed a lawsuit on February 16, 2010 to stop the early release of inmates from Orange County jails. This lawsuit, modeled after the one filed in Sacramento County, is the second one of its kind. In the Sacramento case, the judge issued a temporary restraining order halting the release of inmates under the new state law SB X3 18. Superior Court Judge Loren E. McMaster ruled that “the law was intended for state, not county inmates, and that the release of inmates into the streets while the number of deputies is being reduced is a ‘formula for disaster'” (Orange County Register). Attorneys representing the union argued that the state law, which went into effect January 25th, was meant to affect state prisons only, not county jails. Between January 25th and February 9th, 311 inmates have been released early from Orange County jails. Other counties, such as Los Angeles, are applying the law differently and in turn not releasing any inmates early. In the present suit, attorneys have also cited an inmate who was released early from Sacramento County jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon who then went on to attempt to rape a woman just hours after his release. Kevin Peterson’s case is commonly referred to by law enforcement officials when stating opposition to this new law.