LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman’s fatal stabbing on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame may have been prevented if there had not been several systemic failures in the Los Angeles County Probation Department, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday.
The 26-page report released in response to a public records request detailed multiple communication breakdowns between county agencies and law enforcement along with the probation department’s inadequate detention policies and lack of staff training.
Dustin Kinnear, 26, is suspected of killing 23-year-old Christine Calderon on June 19, roughly two months after his April 6 release from prison. He was ordered to report to county probation officers for supervision but never did.
Instead, he was “flash incarcerated” — temporarily thrown in jail three times for failing to report to county officials for supervision. He also was arrested for lying to a peace officer, convicted of battery and sentenced to three days in jail.
County probation officials didn’t respond to requests for comment. But the department said in its report that it plans to change its flash incarceration policy so a person on probation could be re-incarcerated after a first failure to report lands them in jail.
The report found little communication between the staffs of the probation and mental health departments, and said insufficient information was exchanged between probation and the sheriff’s department, which could help determine if an arrestee should be released with GPS monitoring.
Probation officials said the department has struggled to deal with multiple data systems maintained by law enforcement agencies and in the case of Kinnear its workers had failed to access one of their systems where Los Angeles police had flagged his arrests.
“Had the department been aware of the additional criminal arrests that the defendant was incurring it MAY have raised his risk level to a point that a revocation petition would have resulted in a longer term period of incarceration,” probation officials wrote in the report.
Meanwhile, Kinnear’s case bounced between internal probation units with no clear designation of who was responsible for completing the revocation report that would take him off the streets, the report said.
And probation staff working on his case didn’t have prior experience dealing with “adult field or supervision.” The report notes that “it is very easy to … come to a conclusion that the revocation was appropriate; however, given that the mental health information and new criminal behavior was not being relayed to the supervision staff their failure to revoke is defensible.”
Kinnear pleaded not guilty in June to a murder charge. Authorities say Kinnear was panhandling when he stabbed Calderon to death after she refused to pay him $1 for taking a picture.
Kinnear had been released to county supervision as part of AB 109, the criminal justice realignment program pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The law was in response to a federal court order to reduce California’s prison population.
County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who requested the probation department’s review of Kinnear’s history leading up to Calderon’s death, said the case was a “wake-up call” and that the probation department had identified critical communication “choke points” that needed to be fixed.
“Some of the rules were in place since AB 109,” Yaroslavsky said. “They just weren’t being followed.”
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