By Lea Barrios
SACRAMENTO, Ca. – During virtual court arraignments, several men’s bail amounts have been deemed exceptions to the California Judiciary Court’s emergency rule and were not set to $0.
The stay-in quarantine has put victims of domestic violence in more danger if they live with their abuser. Several men were charged with crimes inflicted on women in their home—including one’s mother, and another’s girlfriend and mother of their children.
The first defendant, Yegeniy Kovpak, was charged with causing great bodily injury and vandalism for assaulting his mother. She already had an active restraining order which he was aware of. Nonetheless, he went to her house and asked her for permission to use her car. They were on her porch in her front yard when the assault allegedly took place.
He allegedly became angry when she said he couldn’t and he punched her in her face, her chest, and strangled her until she couldn’t breathe. The defendant’s sister and neighbors who witnessed the assault yelled at him to stop. He threw his mother to the ground causing her to hit her head on the concrete.
When he left, the neighbors used a picnic table to barricade the fence to prevent the defendant from entering in case he came back.
Jenna Saavedra from the District Attorney’s office asked that his bail be set to $250,000 because the defendant has two misdemeanor cases pending and he is a safety threat to the victim. The court agreed.
The second defendant, Jasper Bernard, was charged with domestic violence on two separate occasions with two different victims in a short period of time. In one incident, he allegedly kicked in the door of the bedroom of the victim and punched her in the chest twice then strangled her until she couldn’t breathe. That occurred in the presence of her two grandchildren.
Defense counsel said that he has been in contact with both of the victims and they expressed that they don’t want him in custody, they don’t fear the defendant, and they are in support of his being released.
The People, however, urged the court to set his bail at $50,000 because he committed domestic violence in a short period of time to two different women. The court agreed and set his bail to that amount.
The last defendant, Zang Thao, was called a huge public safety risk by DA Saavedra because he threatened to kill his girlfriend and her family.
The defendant’s girlfriend told the police that he was violent and abused meth after she found a gun in a drawer of the home they shared with their children. She took pictures of the gun, left the area with their kids, and reported him to the police. She also told them that he allegedly has gang affiliations.
Defense counsel noted that he has no prior felonies and asked that bail be $20,000. DA Saavedra asked that his bail be $1,000,000 because he is a safety risk to the victim and the public.
The court noted that he doesn’t have gun charges but it is concerning that the victim found a gun. The judge found bail of a million dollars to be excessive and set his bail at $100,000.
COVID-19 has caused arraignments to be done remotely through Zoom and live-streamed on YouTube.
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