Home Contra Costa County Contra Costa Sheriff Issues Statement After Judges Decision to Release Armed Robbery Suspects

Contra Costa Sheriff Issues Statement After Judges Decision to Release Armed Robbery Suspects

by ECT

A day after the Pittsburg Police Department informed the community that three suspects that are possibly connected to as many as 25-armed robberies, Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston issued a statement sharing concerns over the decision.

The trio of 18-year-old Samuel Banales-Melena, 20-year-old Jonathan Medina-Flores, and 18-year-old Rogelio Medina-Flores nineteen (19) counts of robbery. The robberies matched similar ones that had occurred in the City of Antioch, City of Concord, City of Brentwood, Bay Point and Clayton.

Here is the statement from Sheriff David Livingston:

“I share Pittsburg Police Chief Brian Addington’s deep concerns about these three charged armed robbery suspects being released from custody and being placed into a private alternative custody program,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “My priority has always been public safety in this county. As suspects in 19 robberies in Contra Costa and based on the seriousness of their offenses, these three did not qualify for the Sheriff’s Office Custody Alternative Program and should have remained in custody in jail.”

Pittsburg Police released their statement as a way to inform the community of what had transpired in the case.

According to police, even though the Custody Alternative Program rejected all three men into their program, the judge overruled the rejection. He then authorized the release of all three men to a private contracted company to be placed into that company’s alternative custody program with an electronic ankle monitoring system. All three men were released to this program on January 5, 2022 and are no longer in jail.

According to the sheriffs office, here is a look at the Custody Alternative Program which offers three alternative to traditional custody:

  1. Work Alternative Program (WAP): 1-30 days – offenders with sentences less than 30 days work at various assigned worksites during daytime hours and receive day for day credit on their sentences.
  2. Electronic Home Detention (EHD) : 31-365 days – offenders with sentences above 30 days are fitted with an EHD monitoring anklet and are monitored electronically 24-hours a day. Their person, property, and home are subject to search at any time. In addition, offenders that are required to wear an alcohol monitor SCRAM are monitored within the EHD program. Participants must have stable housing situation.
  3. County Parole Program (CPP): 31-365 Days – In custody inmates may apply for this program. They will appear before the County Parole Board and if accepted they will be fitted with EHD equipment and monitored 24-hours a day. Their person, property, and home are subject at any time. Participants must have stable housing situation.
The Antioch Police Department announced the arrest of the suspects on Nov 8, 2021, all Pittsburg residents,  which said they were responsible for hitting 25 businesses.

Here is the statement by Pittsburg Police.

During the month of August 2021, the Pittsburg Police Department investigated seven armed robberies that occurred throughout the city. During the investigation of these crimes, the suspects were all described as men in their late teens or early twenties, with masks covering their faces.

Pittsburg Detectives took over the investigations and quickly determined there had been just over twenty additional robberies from local businesses that had taken place within the communities of Antioch, Concord, Brentwood, Bay Point, and Clayton.

All of these robberies included the same suspect description as the three suspects in the Pittsburg robberies. The law enforcement agencies for each of these communities began working together to identify the suspects and stop this rash of violent crimes.

On November 3rd, 2021, the Concord Police Department investigated a related robbery in their city. The Concord Police Department quickly notified surrounding law enforcement agencies and provided a description of the vehicle connected to the crimes. A short time later, the suspect vehicle was located and stopped in the city of Pittsburg. All three men in the vehicle were placed under arrest and charged for the series of robberies they committed throughout Contra Costa County.

A few days later, six law enforcement agencies presented these crimes to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s Office reviewed the cases and filed felony robbery charges with enhancements on 18-year-old Samuel Banales-Melena, 20-year-old Jonathan Medina-Flores, and 18-year-old Rogelio Medina-Flores for their participation in the crimes.

The hard work from investigators from the Pittsburg Police Department, Antioch Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, Concord Police Department, and the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office paid off and these criminals were no longer a threat to our communities.

On November 29, 2021, all three of these men appeared in Contra Costa County Superior Court for a Preliminary Hearing. After the Judge heard testimony from detectives and officers, along with a vast amount of evidence, all three men were held to answer for nineteen (19) counts of armed robbery, with a pending jury trial to take place at a later date.

Unfortunately, at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the presiding judge over the case decided to release all three men from jail and be placed under the supervision of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Custody Alternative Program. This program provides alternatives to traditional incarceration by placing subjects on electronic home supervision with an ankle monitor under the supervision of the Custody Alternative Facility. What this means is all three men would be released from jail pending the jury trial and allowed to remain at home with an ankle monitor.

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Custody Alternative Program was notified of the release of the three men and the nineteen (19) counts of robbery they were being held for. Based on this information, and the violent nature of the crimes the men were charged with, the Custody Alternative Program rejected all three men from being released into the program’s custody. The presiding Judge for the case was informed of the rejection and the refusal of acceptance of the men to the custody alternative program.

Unfortunately, the Judge was unwilling to allow the men to remain in custody and overruled the rejection, and authorized the release of all three men to a private contracted company to be placed into that company’s alternative custody program with an electronic ankle monitoring system. All three men were released to this program on January 5, 2022 and are no longer in jail.

It is with concern for our community and our commitment to keep our citizens and businesses safe, the Pittsburg Police Department is providing this information.

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12 comments

Jaimoe Jan 8, 2022 - 6:21 pm

Now an investigation has been launched to see how much money /bribes this judge received from the private contractor.? Maybe?

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Jenni Li Jan 8, 2022 - 7:17 pm

Let’s have the name and phone number of the judge. He makes a decision that affects thousands of people and then disappears into anonymity (and no doubt private security). Is he a “civil servant” or a homey?

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Richard Jan 8, 2022 - 7:22 pm

I want to know the name of the judge who let them go. He should be held responsible for any crimes committed by these criminals including armed robberies or even murder. This judge considers himself above the law,it sounds like.

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STREET-SWEEPER Jan 8, 2022 - 7:52 pm

Good to see the Sheriff make a public statement!

Criminals know that they can commit crimes in Contra Costa County . They know that the D.A and now some of these judges will nothing to punish them.

Look at the cesspool that Antioch has become, Oakley and Brentwood are next.

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SuperD Jan 8, 2022 - 8:40 pm

Who is the judge that decided this?

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awm Jan 9, 2022 - 10:28 am

[email protected]

It sounds like it was maybe Judge Treat.

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Logical Officer Jan 9, 2022 - 7:59 am

Judge Treat is the judge. He is extremely liberal and is known for following his own rule of thought rather than the constitution and case law! The general public often forgets about judges when it comes to crimes and punishment. They have as big an impact as anyone else (police, DA) and need to be held accountable !

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ME Jan 9, 2022 - 9:14 am

Who was the presiding judge????? Put them on blast! Let us flood their phones n email. Maybe he/she needs to be a victim of an armed robbery and fear for his/her life to get it! WTF!? And ECT…your ‘I’m not a robot” thing is not attached to every story. Can’t comment on most stories. Only pops every so often.

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huh? Jan 9, 2022 - 11:30 am

These guys were involved in 19 armed robberies ! Any one of them could have resulted in a fatality. I’m fine with changes in the criminal justice system as long as they are rooted in common sense at the very least … but 19 f*ing armed robberies later this so called ‘judge’ thinks locking them up is counter productive. He/she needs to be held responsible for the 20th one (which will certainly happen).

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Concerned Citizen Jan 9, 2022 - 5:21 pm

Maybe the Sheriff should reconsider the policy on CCW permits if he can not protect the public.

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Joe Sal Jan 10, 2022 - 1:02 am

If we are reporting news to the public! How about naming the Judge! The courts are public record.

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Mike Stuber Jan 10, 2022 - 7:56 am

Maybe now the Sheriff will take a more reasonable stance on the issuance of CCW permits so law abiding citizens can effectively defend themselves from these and the next armed criminals that come to victimize us.

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