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Appointed Pierce County official releases criminal suspect who failed to appear in court |  Washington

(The Center Square) — A Pierce County Court Commissioner released a violent crime suspect on his own recognizance last month who later failed to appear in court. It’s a finding that has drawn criticism from community members as well as threat assessment professionals.

According to court documents obtained by The Center Square, Yessica Meraz Carmona, 27, was arrested on August 28 for theft of vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, two counts of second-degree assault and attempted murder. escape the police after an undercover investigation by the Pierce County Sheriff. The deputy would have seen her driving a stolen vehicle.

She allegedly tried to evade the police when she was being chased and attempted to steal another vehicle while in custody. When officers tried to get her out of the vehicle, she put the car in reverse and attempted to back it up with the officers pinned between the doors and the car, although neither officer was seriously injured. .

According to the prosecutor’s charging documents, one of the assault charges alleged that Carmona “intentionally and unlawfully caused substantial bodily harm to an unborn child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting injury on that child’s mother.”

The Pierce County District Attorney’s Office requested $75,000 bail, but Carmona was released on her own recognizance by Pierce County Court Commissioner Barbara H. McInvaille. Judicial Commissioners are appointed and deal with legal matters including civil, juvenile, civil mental health, adoption and criminal.

As part of his release, Carmona had to report to pretrial services within 24 hours. However, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office reported on September 1 that she had failed to show up and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

A facebook job on the Pierce County Sheriff’s page regarding the incident received more than 1,200 comments and 223 shares, with many comments criticizing the decision to release Carmona.

One respondent wrote, “Since she was a violent offender (armed robbery and assault, it seems), was a tracer placed on her upon release? If not, why not? And where should citizens go to demand change? Is it a mix of city and state policies that has led to such a relaxed attitude toward remanding a violent offender? There are clearly a number of systemic issues at work here – probably not just a cavalier judge.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office responded that “most of your questions should be directed to the commissioner of the court that set the terms of release. She is employed by the Pierce County Superior Court. Board members/judges consider the seriousness of the charges, criminal history and flight risk when considering bail. Prosecutors requested bail of $75,000 based on these factors. The commissioner elected to release her without bond. Yes, sometimes we have to consider the prison population, but not in this case. We will always find room for an accused with these serious charges.

In an email to The Center Square, Certified Threat Manager and former Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Sheldon Beddo wrote that “the citizens of Pierce County have an unelected judiciary that makes these decisions, and they pay a handsome salary for it. The pre-trial services public safety assessment does not honestly consider his behaviors described in the probable cause statement and brief. In short, the assessment only took into account her past (we learn that she has not appeared in court in another jurisdiction and that she has an active arrest warrant) and not her recent bad behavior.

“Covenant is a promise or obligation to do something, such as keeping the peace, behaving, or appearing. Neither Judicial Commissioner McInvaille nor the Public Safety Assessment prioritized the safety of the citizens of Pierce County. Commissioner McInvaille is clearly not in a position to act on her own commitment. »