FRESNO, Calif. – A Fresno man is a prime example of the breakdown in our criminal justice system — which benefits criminals at the peril of victims — after he was arrested for the tenth time in the last 30 days. Officials point to state laws and federal court orders as the reason for such releases from custody.
Keith Chastain, 38, is “very familiar” to local law enforcement officers. He was booked (again) at the Fresno County Jail on Tuesday. His latest offense was being in possession of a stolen vehicle. He’s been arrested 10 times in the past 30 days. His accumulated charges — 18 felonies and 15 misdemeanors — include auto theft, DUI, vandalism, fraud, and possession of narcotics, among other charges, FOX 11 Los Angeles reported.
The Clovis Police Department received a call about a stolen truck and later found Chastain driving the vehicle.
“An observant officer located the stolen truck driving in Old Town Clovis and followed it until additional officers were in the area,” Clovis Police said in a news release.
Clovis police officers have arrested Chastain six times in the last 30 days. The habitual offender has also been arrested multiple times by the Fresno Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.
You read it right, folks: Arrested 10 times in 31 days, facing 18 felonies and 15 misdemeanors.
Here is a novel idea: maybe stop letting him out over and over again.🤔
This is completely insane! Time to put an end to the revolving-door criminal justice https://t.co/y0pVq12ynv…
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) March 24, 2023
Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said most of Chastain’s releases were due to federal court orders, which call for lower-level offenders to be released since the jailhouse bed is needed for a more serious offender, KSEE-TV reported.
“Unfortunately, this is not as unique of a situation as it seems,” Botti told the outlet. “California has watered down the laws so much over the years for property criminals and repeat offenders that they are not held accountable like they should be. Sadly, it is our community members who suffer due to these soft-on-crime policies.”
California’s Proposition 57 has also been a contributing factor for several years, noted KMPH-TV. It allows felons who don’t pose an “unreasonable risk of violence to the community” to earn early parole.
A similar state law allows someone to get out of jail without posting bail as long as they promise to appear in court — though not everyone arrested is eligible for this type of release, the Western Journal reported.
“It’s all a smokescreen and part of the decarceration movement of the liberal left,” said a law enforcement source on the condition of anonymity. “These buffoons in Sacramento consider serial residential burglars ‘non-violent’ as long as they don’t kill someone while they are breaking into a family’s home. And the strong-armed robbery suspect who gets his crime reduced to grand theft or petty theft as part of a plea bargain is also in the ‘non-violent’ category. The system does nothing to discourage career criminals.”
California man arrested 10 times in 31 days drove to police station in stolen car to pick up property.
Fresno man Keith Chastain is accused of 18 felonies and 15 misdemeanors between Feb. 19 and Tuesday pic.twitter.com/SLeeiPbyRQ
— D. Scott @eclipsethis2003 (@eclipsethis2003) March 23, 2023
Cpl. Meredith Alexander of the Clovis Police Department lamented their inability to keep Chastain locked up and urged citizens to learn what he looks like in case they see him.
“I don’t know what is happening in his life to cause him to steal so many people’s vehicles and property … it’s sad,” Alexander told KMPH. “I hope he gets some help.”
“However long he stays in jail is out of our hands, but we will arrest him every day if we have to,” she said, adding: “If people don’t call, we don’t know.”