California Justice: Man Arrested 10 Times, Released 9 Times in a Single Month


A Fresno man has been arrested for the tenth time in the last 31 days as local authorities allow the man to be repeatedly released.

Police said they are “very familiar” with Keith Chastain, 38, who KTTV reported was booked Tuesday at the Fresno County Jail.

Police in Clovis said they 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 officers said in a news release, according to KTTV.

Chastain said he was on his way to the police department when arrested, the outlet reported. He told investigators he was going there to pick up personal property.

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No other people were in the vehicle and Chastain was taken into custody without incident, KTTV reported.

This is now his tenth arrest in the last 30 days, meaning he’s been arrested every three days, on average.

Six of the 10 arrests were made by the Clovis Police Department and the rest were made by the Fresno Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.

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He currently faces charges of vehicle theft, DUI, vandalism, fraud and possession of a controlled substance, according to KTTV. Of these, 18 are felonies and 15 are misdemeanors.

Chastain was facing more charges than this, but Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office told KSEE-TV that some charges were dropped after officers failed to file Chastain’s case with the district attorney’s office on time.

He said most of Chastain’s releases were due to federal court orders, which call for lower-level offenders to be set free because a jailhouse bed is needed for a more serious offender.

“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.”

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KMPH-TV noted that this may be because of California’s Proposition 57, which 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.

Clovis Police Department Cpl. Meredith Alexander lamented their failure to keep Chastain in jail and urged those in the community 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.”

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