Fresno Co. judges in hot water after Fentanyl kingpin released over ‘no bail’ policy

California and L.A. County pulled zero-dollar bail months and years ago. Fresno County’s program enabled a major drug dealer walk out of jail free.

Fresno County’s Superior Court judges are on the receiving end of a mountain of grief after a heroin and Fentanyl dealer in a major, six-figure drug bust was released from Fresno County Jail on Wednesday under the jurists’ emergency coronavirus pandemic-era zero-dollar bail scheme.

How’d it happen? Pedro Miranda-Muro, 23, was arrested by Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies with $230,000 worth of fentanyl and $12,000 worth of heroin on Tuesday.


  • Bail in a case like Miranda-Muro’s typically would be set at $225,000, likely keeping him behind bars.

Fresno County’s Superior Court enacted a zero-dollar bail program overlaid with the State of California’s policy during the coronavirus pandemic to ease jail populations amid increased spread of the disease.

  • The State of California’s emergency bail policy expired in June 2020, mere months after its enactment and the onset of the pandemic
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court ended its no-bail scheme in July 2022.

What they’re saying: Fresno County’s bench was quickly flayed by law enforcement leaders, beginning with Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni and Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama:

  • Balderrama, in a now-deleted tweet: “Completely unacceptable! Fresno Sheriff’s Office makes a great bust, confiscates enough fentanyl to wipeout most of Fresno, and trafficker gets zero-dollar bail! The community should be outraged. The overdoes crisis in America will not get any better until consequences return.”
  • “You’re just going to have your morale go through the floor, if all your thinking about when you make an arrest is that person is going to get out,” Fresno County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti told Nexstar. 

Go Deeper: The emergency bail provision was designed to stay in effect until 90 days after Gov. Gavin Newsom repealed the state’s declaration of emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic, or upon a vote of a majority of the judges.

Following public outcry over Miranda-Muro’s release on Wednesday, the majority of the Fresno County bench voted to end the program.

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