Sacramento DA Schubert Doesn’t Fight No Bail for Stevante Clark

But Protests and Arrests at Her Office, and Her Refusal to Go Out in Public Still Dog Incumbent

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Sacramento Courtwatch

SACRAMENTO – Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert – facing a tough re-election race in June – just can’t seem to stay away from controversy.

Take Monday for example. Her office reversed fields, and after keeping Stevante Clark – the older brother of Stephon Clark who was shot and killed by Sacramento police March 18 – in jail on $1 million bail, agreed to release him with no bail. Not a penny, after he was deemed so dangerous that $1 million bail kept him a guest of the jail over a long weekend.

The DA still kept him in jail since Thursday, a practice known as overcharging which many defense lawyers call an art form that many district attorneys use to keep suspects in jail – usually the poorer ones. Wealthy suspects can usually buy their freedom.

Clark, last Thursday, was acting erratically, according to witnesses, threatening people and smashing things. He was arrested, and kept in Sacramento County Jail on multiple felonies until Monday on $1 million bail.

But Monday, in an afternoon bail  hearing, Clark was released on just his own recognizance (OR). In short, no bail and he must appear at another hearing May 9 facing just four misdemeanors, including making false 911 calls, death threats, assault and vandalism.

“It tells me someone didn’t review it (the original charges last Thursday),” said Jeffrey Fletcher, Clark’s lawyer, after the hearing. He said it was “unusual” to have $1 million bail reduced to just an “OR” release at the first hearing after an arrest.

The prosecution, which usually fights bail reductions, this time had no objection and even recommended “Mental Health Court” for Clark, who had spent a few days in a mental health facility since his brother was shot in the back six times while carrying only a cell phone.

“I’m glad he (Clark) is feeling good. I’m sure he’ll have no problem complying with the conditions of  his release,” added Fletcher, referring to Judge Joseph Orr’s admonitions to Clark that he not make unnecessary 911 calls, obey all laws and not go within 100 yards of several individuals in and near the home at which he was arrested.

There’s been a series of protests because of the police killings – including three every week at the district attorney’s office calling on DA Anne Marie Schubert to charge the two officers with murder.

That leads to Schubert’s Number Two problem: Protests at her office.

Last week, two protestors were arrested and other injured after police set up a skirmish line behind her office in an alley. Black Lives Matter Sacramento called it “police violence,” and if Schubert decides to prosecute two (according to videos) nonviolence protestors, it’ll look like she’s using her office to retaliate against community members for protesting her actions, or non-actions.

Starting this week, protestors will be met not just by dozens of Taser-wielding, baton-waving and rubber bullet-armed police, but by a 10-foot fence all around her office and the grass in front of it.  Stay-tuned, protestors said Monday, to  see how that goes.

That leads to Schubert’s Number Three problem: She won’t go out into the community.

Schubert literally ran from the Sacramento City Council chambers weeks ago when none other than Stevante Clark led protestors into the chambers before she was to speak.

She’s also cancelled several community speeches, and this week confirmed she probably won’t be attending a sponsored community debate with her challenger Noah Phillips – who works as an assistant D.A. in her office. The National Lawyers Guild/Sacramento Chapter and the American Civil Liberties Union of Sacramento County are sponsors.

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  1. PhilColeman

    Any public official can be portrayed pretty much anyway opponents want to project the image. One can use innuendo, associative guilt, rumor, inference, or lies that are difficult or impossible to refute. It’s the nature of the beast, one of the perils of being a public servant, and a staple of our society in election years, especially.

    In this column, First Amendment rights are exercised in the form of expressed opinions. However, there are facts and constitutional constraints that interfere with the overall intended message here, targeting the incumbent Sacramento District Attorney.

    This suspect was arrested on multiple charges, meaning the person met a probable cause standard for committing several crimes. The district attorney had nothing to do with the suspect being taken into custody.

    From the content of the column it appears that nobody disputed the legality of the multiple arrest decision, just that is was an example of “overcharging,” which was then condemned as a district attorney ploy. In fact, the suspect was not criminally charged with anything by anybody, prior to his described first court appearance. The man was arrested for suspicion of multiple crimes. Somebody writing this with the title, “Courtwatcher,” knows this is fact and this is a deliberate distortion of what really happened. Being arrested is not the same as being criminally charged.

    Asking defense attorneys for opinions of prosecutors is a recurring theme in this blog, in the support of condemnation of prosecuting attorneys.  It’s hard to imagine a defense attorney saying a client was “undercharged.”

    These roles are natural adversaries. Ask prosecutors what they think of defense attorneys and public defenders and you’ll get the same kind of responses. We readers should ignore any assessment given by one court adversary towards the other.

    Except for capital offenses, anybody in this country who is arrested is eligible for immediate bail and release from custody. A set bail fee (called a “schedule”)  is calculated for every bailable offense in all the common criminal offenses. The bail fee is determined by the Superior Court judges in a given county. Thanks to our Constitutional separation of powers, the district attorney has no role in setting of bail. Somebody with the title,  Courtwatcher surely knows how bail schedules are set and applied. The Sacramento DA was falsely imaged.

    In the subsequent bail hearing, the suspect was released on an OR with no objection from the DA. Yet, this hearing was portrayed as an implied indictment of the district attorney’s judgment, a judgment her office never rendered.

    Summation and conclusion: The Sacramento District Attorney had no role in the arrest and physical custody of the suspect, nor did she set the total million dollar bail. Protesters objecting to the multi-charge arrest should gather in front of the police department. To protest the total bail sum of a million dollars, proceed to the front of the Sacramento Superior Court and express your views there.

    1. David Greenwald

      I think a key question here arrives out of this:

      “It tells me someone didn’t review it (the original charges last Thursday),” said Jeffrey Fletcher, Clark’s lawyer, after the hearing. He said it was “unusual” to have $1 million bail reduced to just an “OR” release at the first hearing after an arrest.

      So did the DA just not review this case until it came up for a bail hearing or did the overcharged case and the $1 million bail get lost in the system.

      I think questions should be asked and I don’t think the explanation you give really suffices.

  2. Howard P

    Phil (or others who know)… how does a “72-hour hold” work, if someone is deemed to be a proximate/immediate threat to self or others?  Does bail or OR apply?

  3. Tia Will

    These roles are natural adversaries”
    And herein lies a major problem with our system. We only trust that an adversarial system with each side striving to “win” the case will result in a just outcome. I would much prefer a collaborative process in which the goal is to come to a true conclusion as to what factually happened and a just outcome based on truth, not what one side or the other can get a jury to believe.

    1. Howard P

      How would a “collaboative process” work with the Tennessee, or Parkland “suspects”, or the apparently rogue officers who were responsible for the Clark, Mann deaths, or the Martin ‘vigilante’ killing?

      Just not seeing it… really want to understand, but am highly skeptical…

      If I did something real bad, why should I “collaborate”?

      Takes a unanimous jury to convict… in “mental illness” cases, should there not be 12 ‘peer’ jurors to release/parole?  Can someone mentally ill collaborate?

      Just asking questions…

  4. John Hobbs

    “I would much prefer a collaborative process in which the goal is to come to a true conclusion as to what factually happened and a just outcome based on truth, not what one side or the other can get a jury to believe.”

    And you believe an inquisitorial system is more likely to achieve either “truth” or “justice?”


      1. John Hobbs

        The inquisitorial system was first developed by the Catholic Church during the medieval period. It required witnesses and defendants to take an inquisitorial oath administered by the judge, who then questioned the witnesses.  In the inquisitorial system, the presiding judge is not a passive recipient of information. Rather, the presiding judge is primarily responsible for supervising the gathering of the evidence necessary to resolve the case. He or she actively steers the search for evidence and questions the witnesses, including the respondent or defendant. Attorneys play a more passive role, suggesting routes of inquiry for the presiding judge and following the judge’s questioning with questioning of their own. Attorney questioning is often brief because the judge tries to ask all relevant questions. There is no presumption of innocence in inquisitorial systems and a defendant can be compelled to testify.

        Most of the world uses the inquisitorial model.

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