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Convicted Felons May Be Released Amid Fight Between State, San Joaquin County Judges

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) — Convicted felons are being released early in San Joaquin County because of a dilemma involving paperwork.

Parole violators are now being released to the streets without serving their entire sentence because of a conflict between the county and the state.

"If someone violates parole seriously enough to go back into custody, it's a serious matter," said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The state says it needs almost a week to process an offender to determine if that person should stay in jail. But San Joaquin County judges don't want to wait that long.

"San Joaquin County is the only one mandating two days, and it's just not enough time to give the court enough information they need to make a judgment to what should happen to that person," Sessa said.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department says it's caught in the middle and filled to the brim.

"If it was up to us, we wouldn't be releasing anybody," department spokesman Les Garcia said. "Here in San Joaquin County, we're full every day."

A court order requiring counties to release inmates to avoid overcrowding means the county will have to release at least 25 inmates.

"We recognize that they may have capacity problems at the jail," Sessa said.

Should people in the county be concerned?

"As far as a danger to society, that's the worst thing, and they take all that into consideration, and we do," Garcia said.

The state says they're trying to work with the presiding judge over the county judges to try and fix the problem.

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