By Ruby Wilks
SACRAMENTO — After entering pleas of not guilty on counts of stalking, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and unlawful possession of controlled substances, defendant Rewia Beaman’s bail was set at $350,000 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Scott L. Tedmon.
But last Monday morning, Assistant Public Defender Eliza Hook argued that Beaman’s bail should be lowered from the original amount set at $500,000 to $150,000, as the mandatory Emergency Bail Schedule—which was put in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and sets bail at $0 for most misdemeanor and lower-level offense—would require.
Hook began by stating that “we believe that the Emergency Bail Schedule is mandatory. That schedule was required to apply to pretrial detainees as of April 13, 2020. That Emergency Bail Schedule has been subsequently adopted by the Presiding Judge of Sacramento, Judge Hom, to be the controlling bail schedule until another schedule is adopted.”
Hooks continued: “The Emergency Bail Schedule makes no provision for bail amounts above the schedule where the schedule applies. So, here, there is no provision to increase that bail. Per the emergency bail schedule, count one PC 646.9(b) should be set at $100,000, count two PC 29800(a)(1) should be set at $50,000, and count three the Health & Safety Code Section 11370.1 should be set at $0 for a total of $150,000.”
In response, Deputy District Attorney Elise Stafford, standing in for DDA Scott Schweibish, claimed that the nature of the alleged crime as well as the defendant’s criminal history—including one prior strike and a murder acquittal—are sufficient reason not to lower bail from the original $500,000.
In a brief summary of the facts of the case, Stafford reported that Beaman violated a written no-contact order between the victim and himself, who share a 10-year-old child, when around November 1, 2019, he went to their child’s school and used the child’s phone to find the victim’s location.
Beaman was apprehended a few blocks away from the child’s school, where police reported finding a loaded firearm as well as controlled substances in his vehicle.
In her argument, Stafford also disputed whether the Emergency Bail Schedule is still in effect. “The council repealed the bail schedule starting June 20,” pointed out Stafford. “We are on June 22.”
However, Hook informed the court that because Presiding Judge Hom did, in fact, “sign an order on June 17 of this year retaining the Emergency Bail Schedule that was set in place in April,” the Emergency Bail Schedule should still be followed despite the Judicial Council voting to rescind it.
Moreover, Hook took issue with the consideration of Beaman’s criminal history. The Emergency Bail Schedule, stated Hook, “takes into account that people have prior histories and prior offense, and that’s not what dictates the bail. What dictates the bail is the charges for which the defendant stands accused.”
Hook also took the opportunity to note that there are some potential problems with this case. “The court at the preliminary hearing stated that while [Beaman] is being held at the preliminary hearing on the charges given the low standard, there are definitely problems for this case in terms of proving it beyond a reasonable doubt.”
After this statement, both prosecutor Stafford and Judge Tedmon concurred that the judge who heard the preliminary hearing would have been better suited to resolve the bail issue at hand.
Judge Tedmon agreed with Hook that the Emergency Bail Schedule is still in place in Sacramento, mentioning that “the bench was given advance notice of the Presiding Judge’s intention to retain the structure of the Emergency Bail Schedule.”
Nevertheless, it has been his experience that “the court is not forced to simply look at the identified bail amounts” and that he is “certainly free to consider the issues of public safety and the safety of the victim when those two parameters are called into question by either the facts of the underlying case or past criminal history.”
Thus, although Judge Tedmon agreed that the court is conducting the analysis under the guidelines and structure of the Emergency Bail Schedule, he does not “feel confined by the base level of the Emergency Bail Schedule.”
With Beaman’s stalking charge, unlawful possession of a loaded and operable firearm, and past criminal history in mind, the judge expressed concern for the victim and the general community.
“I am going to set bail at $350,000. I recognize that the base level is $150,000. I think the additional $200,000 is what’s necessary to continue to protect the victim and the community. So, bail is reduced from $500,00 to $350,000,” concluded Judge Tedmon.
The matter will resume on July 1, 2020, at 8:30 A.M. in Department 60.
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