By Angelina Caplanis
SACRAMENTO – Some lawyers know math. In the case of defense counsel Claire White, she knew the bail keeping her client in jail just didn’t add up right.
Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court, Judge Patrick Marlette reduced bail by $100,000 for defendant Creamon Alston after learning that bail was set as if the charges against the defendant were for a serious or violent felony, which they’re not, according to White.
Alston is primarily charged with being an accessory after the fact under California Penal Code section 32. It is not a violent crime in itself. He faces additional charges for drug possession and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Alston’s bail was set for $250,000, which private defense attorney White argued should be reduced because he is not being accused of a violent crime.
“It is only the practice to stack [bail] on serious or violent felonies and we are stacked up here,” White reminded the court.
Bail is “stacked” when a person has to pay the sum of the scheduled bail for all the charges against them. In some jurisdictions, like Sacramento County, bail is only stacked if the person is accused of a serious or violent felony.
Alston has been in custody for nearly a year on this case and does not have the resources to pay his current bail amount. White insisted her client does not have a history of violence or of failing to appear in court.
“Given the rising crises of the global pandemic and the move to try and make pretrial incarceration only for the worst of the worst offenders, I ask that he would be released on pretrial services or his bail set on an amount that would secure his appearance, but that he can afford to pay, like $100,000 or $150,000,” White said.
Alston is charged in connection with a shooting. Alston is alleged to have driven his co-defendants away from the scene of the shooting after the two men fired multiple rounds at another driver in a Chevron parking lot. Alston was arrested a week later at a traffic stop, along with one of the co-defendants. They allegedly were found to be in possession of $700 and guns matching the casings found at the Chevron parking lot.
Deputy District Attorney Sam Alexander swore to the judge that “nothing is being stacked, and ran through the charges and the bail amounts scheduled to each charge.
When he concluded, Judge Marlette remarked, “That gets you to $250,000. You’re stacking these bails, aren’t you?”
DDA Alexander responded yes.
Judge Marlette then reduced bail by $100,000 to $150,000.
The issue still remains as to whether Alston will actually be permitted to post bail. As it stands, a hold was put in place because the $700 seized at the traffic stop may be connected to illicit drug sales.
White argued the amount of money seized at the arrest was not sufficient to show Alston would pay his bail with illegal or illicit funds.
Judge Marlette, however, did not lift the hold, and said Alston could provide evidence to the district attorney that he has legitimate resources to post bail.
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