By Lauren Smith
CONTRA COSTA – During a remote preliminary hearing in Contra Costa Superior Court, defendant Luke Robinson was charged with possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Bailey called Sheriff’s Deputy Danielle Caredio to the stand to testify about the night Robinson was arrested. Caredio stated that as she was patrolling a dark street at 1:30 a.m. with her partner in Bay Point, a Honda Civic “came around the corner at a high rate of speed” causing her to swerve out of the way in order to avoid a collision.
According to Caredio’s testimony, the vehicle “did not stop or slow down. She said she made a U-turn and followed it. After speeding by the deputies and turning the corner, the Honda Civic pulled over and the deputy saw someone exiting from the driver’s side of the vehicle.
She checked the passenger side of the vehicle to clear it and found the defendant Luke Robinson in the front passenger seat. In his lap was “a gun magazine with bullets in it.” When asked if there was a gun in the car, Mr. Robinson did not respond.
After the defendant exited the vehicle with his hands on his head, the deputy saw a gun on the passenger seat.
During cross-examination, Assistant Public Defender Rachel Draznin-Nagy asked if the deputy ever saw Robinson touch either the magazine or the gun found on the passenger side seat. Caredio responded no.
When questioned if the gun or magazine was dusted for fingerprints by the crime lab, Deputy Caredio said yes she but did not know the results.
Judge Wendy Coats admitted Caredio’s testimony and a photo of the gun on the passenger side seat into evidence.
The DDA also moved to add Robinson’s three prior felony convictions on his rap sheet into evidence because the current charges against him were specific to someone previously convicted of felony charges.
The assistant public defender argued against including the rap sheet, noting “there are foundational issues with the rap sheet.” However, Judge Coats allowed it to be admitted.
Draznin-Nagy then moved to decrease bail from the current $215,000, and during the hearing she challenged the legal definition of possession, stating that possession has to be voluntary and requires control. She argued that because there is no evidence that the defendant touched the gun or the magazine, she said they were not in his possession.
The public defender further argued that Robinson shows a history of “wanting to be better” despite the tough life he has led so far, demonstrated through his social history report, which included evidence of substance abuse problems.
Defense counsel insisted that bail should be reduced, or defendant Robinson should be released into a residential substance abuse treatment program with an ankle monitor.
Judge Coats said that, while she is sympathetic to Robinson’s history, “the bail concern here is one of public safety” and that “the new charges have a similar flavor to the prior convictions, with the overlapping issue of firearms.”
The prosecutor also rejected the argument to reduce bail, stating that “this is a matter of public safety and of keeping guns out of hands they are not supposed to be in,” adding it was concerning that Robinson’s history spans six years—and while she is “sympathetic to the issues” raised, she does not think they “mitigate the risk to public safety.”
The judge concluded that, while the substance abuse issues have not been addressed yet, “when you look at the history of convictions, what they are related to and what has brought us here again today, the fact that [the issues] need to and will be most likely addressed, and for concern for public safety I will keep the bail set at $215,000.”
The next date for Mr. Robinson is July 20, 2020.
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