SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A third-striker was charged with attacking an Irvine police officer while allegedly breaking into a business, just days after being released from jail on $0 bail by an appointed court commissioner who is under fire for releasing seven high-risk sex offenders recently.
Russell Paul Parson, 39, of Los Angeles, was released from jail on April 14 on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty to a felony count each of burglary and theft with a prior theft of a vehicle. According to the Orange County District Attorney's office, Parsons had appeared before Orange County Court Commissioner Joseph Dane three times since April 8 to plead not guilty to a total of seven felonies in connection with three separate burglary and theft cases.
Officials say it was just five days later that Parsons attacked an Irvine police officer who was responding to a silent alarm at a commercial business. The officer had to use a taser to subdue Parsons in order to arrest him, according to the District Attorney's office, who said a sharpened axe head and a combat-style knife were recovered at the scene.
"We cannot let a global pandemic defy common sense," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. "This officer had to fight for his life against a dangerous criminal who should have been behind bars and not free to commit more crimes."
The Parsons arrest is the second time Spitzer has blasted Commissioner Dane publicly for releasing convicted felons in the state-wide effort to reduce the inmate population in Orange County jails because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Spitzer issued a warning that Dane had released seven high-risk sex-offenders, even though they had previously made attempts to remove or tamper with their tracking devices.
Dane is not able to respond to criticism because of a canon of ethics prohibiting judges or commissioners from commenting on cases. However, an Orange County public defender and a Fullerton attorney came to Dane's defense to call Spitzer's criticism "disingenuous" because the commissioner cannot defend himself.
The attorney's say Dane has volunteered to conduct the arraignments and has been working every day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"If I'm a judge at home reading this I'm going to think I'm not going to put my neck on the line," Public Defender Sharon Petrosino said.
Fullerton attorney Jacqueline Goodman, a leader on national and state defense attorney organizations, said if Spitzer didn't like the rulings, he could have appealed them to a higher court.
"He's trying to intimidate the judge and the whole bench by calling out by name a judicial officer, who is doing nothing but exercising his discretion appropriately and following the order of the chief justice" of the state Supreme Court, Good man said.
As for Parsons — who is now being held on $250,000 bail — he has been charged with burglary, receiving stolen property, resisting an executive officer, vandalism and being in a place where there are controlled substances, according to the District Attorney's office. He's facing a total of 13 felonies and two misdemeanors in connection with burglaries on March 29, March 31, April 2, April 19, and an April 4 theft case.
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