Judges increasing bail amounts on accused car thieves

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News has learned over the past several months, judges have fought back by increasing the bail amount on thieves they constantly see in and out of their courtroom.

In one case, bail was set at $200 million.

One defense attorney tells Action News judges do that to send a message even though the bail amount has little impact on who gets out early.

"Are they trying to make a statement? Absolutely. And I think they're trying to represent the people of Fresno because no one else is representing them," defense attorney Marc Kapetan said.

"It's the charge that counts when it comes to who we release from jail. For example, if a judge gets angry and ups the bail on a car thief, I can't base my decision on anger or emotions," Sheriff Margaret Mims said.

Sheriff Mims tells Action News that while she doesn't want to release anyone early, jail beds need to be reserved for more violent criminals.

She is hoping to open another floor of the jail in April, which should alleviate some of the overcrowding issues.

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