ACLU Sues California Sheriff in Attempt to Free More Inmates Amid Pandemic

The ACLU of Southern California is suing Orange County, California Sheriff Don Barnes who issued the following statement last week after multiple sex offenders were released.

Per CBSLA, Seven high-risk registered sex offenders have been released months early in the statewide effort to reduce the jail population to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The released sex offenders include:

  • Luis Joel Ramirez, 27, whose criminal history includes sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting a peace officer, burglary and possessing a leaded cane.
  • James Franklin Bowling, 50, whose criminal history includes lewd conduct in a public place, repeated convictions for failing to register as a sex offender, repeated convictions for sex offender on school grounds, possession of controlled substances and paraphernalia.
  • Rudy William Grajeda Magdaleno, 39, whose criminal history includes child molestation, indecent exposure, assault, battery, criminal threats and inflicting injury on an elder adult.
  • Calvin Curtis Coleman, 52, whose criminal history includes lewd conduct in a public place.
  • Kyle Albert Winton, 40, whose criminal history includes annoying/molesting a child, criminal threats to cause great bodily injury or death, resisting a peace officer, DUI and hit-and-run with property damage.
  • Jose Adrian Oregel, 45, whose criminal history includes unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, oral copulation of a person under 18 and great bodily injury. He is also a second striker.
  • Mario Ernesto Sandoval, 45, whose criminal history includes sexual battery, touching for sexual arousal, indecent exposure, assault on a peace officer and assault.
Top from left, Rudy William Grajeda Magdaleno, Calvin Curtis Coleman, Jose Adrian Oregel, Kyle Albert Winton. Bottom from left, Luis Joel Ramirez, James Franklin Bowling, Mario Ernesto Sandoval. (credit: Orange County District Attorney’s Office)


CBSLA reports the ACLU of Southern California filed a federal lawsuit last Thursday against the Orange County Sheriff in an attempt to reduce the jail population during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit demands immediate release of “vulnerable and disabled” inmates, better social distancing protocols, and increases in care, testing, and personal protective equipment.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s department reported 122 inmates and three deputies have tested positive for the virus.

Sheriff Don Barnes told the OC Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the jail population has been reduced by 45 percent since last month when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order.

In a statement Thursday, Barnes said he has “implemented extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and preserve jail operations. These measures include the release of a limited amount of sentenced low-level offenders.”

The jail population has declined from 5,303 inmates on March 7 to 2,911 inmates as of Tuesday, according to the statement.

“Today’s jail population occupies only 39% of our jail’s actual capacity of just over 7,400 beds,” Barnes said. “I will continue to take measures needed to ensure the capacity is available to maintain safe operations and preserve our ability to house criminal offenders.

“At this moment, the early release of specified low-level offenders and the actions by the courts provide the capacity to meet our current needs.”

Barnes said he “must also ensure the safety of the law-abiding public” when releasing jail inmates.