Why SJ Walmart Suspect Was Out of Jail

Suspect was on bail in similar prior incident

When 33-year old Haamid Ade Zaid of Seaside was arrested in the Easter Sunday crash and aggravated assault at a Walmart store on Story Road, he was out on bail in a similar case involving a crash into the Capitol Premier Car Wash on December 16, 2012.

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, the answer to the question, why was he free to reoffend is simple. “It is how the system works, it’s what the constitution guarantees. We can’t hold everybody in jail awaiting their court dates, particularly on misdemeanor offenses. We’d get full pretty quickly,” said James Sibley, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney.

Sibley says he reviewed Zaid’s prior record and found mostly low-level drug offenses.

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“There’s nothing that would’ve flagged something like this happening and frankly, given his history, if somebody had the minimum history he had and had been treated in some sort of draconian manner it would’ve offended people more,” Sibley added, “He didn’t have a significant criminal history, he was under the influence, was involved in a traffic accident, there was nothing flagging this sort of intentional, erratic behavior.”

Zaid’s attorney, Jeffrey Kaloustian confirmed to NBC Bay Area that his client was ordered to a substance abuse program but did not elaborate. Sibley says he didn’t do the treatment, “tested dirty” and the 90-day mandatory sentence that was on hold under the voter-enacted Propostion 36 and Deferred Entry of Judgement was revoked.

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Zaid was to be sentenced on April 9, nine days after the Walmart crash. He is due in court Thursday on four charges of aggravated assault, hit and run, being under the influence and resisting arrest.

“In retrospect , you say, I wish we’d had him in custody but there was no justification to hold him in,” Sibley said. “The offenses just weren’t serious enough.”

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