By Lea Barrios
SACRAMENTO, CA – Several arraignments ended with the defendant’s bail set to $0 with the exception of two cases where the defendants had been deemed a public safety risk.
Due to the California Judicial Council’s new emergency bail policy, offenders’ bail can be set to $0 in order to reduce the population of incarcerated people to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in jails. The only exception is if the defendant is a public safety risk, which the court saw in a case of domestic violence and one where a weapon was brandished and threats were made.
Several arraignments took place on Monday through Zoom and were live-streamed on YouTube in lieu of regular in-person arraignments that are available to the public. All defendants were asked for their consent to have their arraignment done remotely instead of in person.
Each defendant was led into a caged area of the courtroom where they were greeted by their public defender whose name was mentioned – Andrew C – but was not displayed on the screen. They were instructed to speak toward a laptop which showed Commissioner Kenneth Brody and prosecutor Jenna Saavedra, who were in different rooms.
Andrew C. asked that most of the defendants be released on their own recognizance, to be released on conditions, or that their bail is set to $0 according to the California Judicial Council’s emergency bail policy.
The first case was Tracy Curtis, who was charged with misdemeanor battery of a person from a previous dating relationship. Her public defender asked that she be released on her own recognizance because she is the caretaker of her elderly parents, she works full-time helping people sign up for Obamacare, and her last conviction was a decade ago.
The prosecutor objected to her being released because of concern for the safety of the victim. Curtis has a history of domestic violence, and the prosecution referred to a previous case. She allegedly approached the victim in her car and punched him. He ran away from her and she chased him with her car and came very close to hitting him. She then ran her car into the garage of the home of the victim. Her bail was set to $5,000.
The other case where the defendant’s release was objected to was the case of Daniel Sanchez. He allegedly drove to the James Mangan park in Sacramento where the alleged victim asked him to quiet his car and he responded by wielding a hatchet and threatening to stab the alleged victim in the back of the head.
Sanchez has been charged with brandishing a weapon and threatening a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury.
Prosecutor Saavedra objected to his release because she considered him to be a public safety risk given the nature of his crimes. Although unclear, it appeared that he would be released on conditions while the prosecution’s objection to his release would be taken into consideration.
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