DA Vern Pierson Outraged at Early Releases of Dangerous Inmates
El Dorado District Attorney Vern Pierson is outraged at the discovery that dozens of prisoners have been released early from state prison after being convicted in El Dorado County, including two who have since been arrested and convicted for committing new violent crimes.
One of the released prisoners threatened violence against law enforcement officers who contacted him after he re-offended.
“I’m angry because in the name of reform, the prison system has recklessly endangered the lives of the citizens of El Dorado County,” said Pierson. “What is truly disturbing is the volume of violent inmates being released by CDCR without any real consideration for recidivism and the safety of the community.”
VINCENT GARCIA – Released Early Due to COVID
Vincent Garcia was sentenced in El Dorado County for felony convictions for possession of a firearm and false imprisonment. He had a previous strike for first-degree burglary.
Garcia was sentenced to 8 years and 4 months in state prison and had a projected release date of May 24, 2021.
However, the prison released Mr. Garcia early on July 13, 2020. Just a few months later, after already violating parole, Mr. Garcia was arrested for numerous crimes including robbery, burglary, possession of a firearm by a felon, and domestic violence. A manhunt ensued for Mr. Garcia’s capture.
During the manhunt, Mr. Garcia threatened to shoot up El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputies’ “whole squad”.
In an angry and profane rant that was recorded on a phone call he told the detective: “You piece of s***, f*** you. Know this, I’m a pretty good shot so I hope you are ready, you piece of s***. I’m going to tag that a***! Hangtown, bro place.”
At his arraignment, the court found Mr. Garcia to be a clear threat to public safety and held him with no bail. He has since been convicted again, this time sentenced to 8 years and he is now headed back to state prison.
MELANIE EISSLER – Released Early Due to COVID
Melanie Eissler was sentenced in El Dorado County to prison for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. Ms. Eissler’s projected release date was October of 2024.
However, the prison released Ms. Eissler early on July 29, 2020. Just a few months later, after already violating her parole, Ms. Eissler claimed another victim when she randomly struck a woman in the back of the head causing both a laceration and a concussion.
On January 12, 2021, Ms. Eissler was convicted of assault causing great bodily injury, a strike. Ms. Eissler is now back in prison serving a 5 year sentence.
The El Dorado DA’s Office found out that CDCR released a total of 364 inmates who were sentenced from El Dorado County between January, 2019 and July, 2021. Information is still pouring in, but we have confirmed that at least 61 of those inmates were released early specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We obtained that information after submitting a California Public Records Act (PRA) request to the California Department of Corrections (CDCR).
DA Pierson opposed a number of these early releases, noting that after criminal realignment (AB 109) only individuals with a current serious and violent criminal conviction were sent to prison and housed at CDCR.
Concerns over these releases is why DA Pierson and 44 other elected District Attorneys throughout California joined together to file suit against CDCR to oppose the additional so-called “emergency” credits. It is imperative that we act quickly to stop the early release of violent individuals who put the citizen of the State of California in danger.
“This is wrong and it needs to stop. We have turned the criminal justice system upside down in the name of reform,” said DA Pierson. “It’s as if elected officials and appointed ones (CDCR) are falling all over themselves to come up with ridiculous new ways of releasing violent felons. To make matters worse, the CDCR has adopted these new release policies without providing the public a chance to weigh in on the process and without any consideration for the safety of their constituents.”