By Özge Terzioğlu
SACRAMENTO – Defendant Reggie Johnson was released from custody here in Sacramento County Superior Court Tuesday on zero bail after Assistant Public Defender Samantha Ting argued forcefully for his release—she also noted the prosecutor may have overcharged in the case.
Johnson is charged with two misdemeanors, vandalism and child endangerment.
However, Ting maintained that the allegation stating that her client broke a window near a child was incorrect—in fact, the child wasn’t there, but in another room, she added, noting that she wasn’t even “sure that the elements of a charge for child endangerment were met.”
After Judge Scott Tedmon told the defendant his charges, PD Ting asked for a breakout room with her client.
When she returned, PD Ting clarified that while “the court has to assume the charges are true,” the allegation states that defendant Johnson allegedly broke a window that was near a crib where the child could have been.
But she repeated the objection that, since the infant was in another room at the time of the window breaking, it was not child endangerment. She reiterated that it does not appear that the child was in immediate danger.
To further support releasing her client from custody, PD Ting reassured Judge Tedmon that her client was willing to abide by any reasonable conditions, including a no contact order, and that he has a place to stay in Sacramento that’s not close to the victim.
PD Ting also noted that it does not appear that the district attorney’s office has contacted the victim regarding a no contact order, but regardless she wishes for bail to be set at $0 or for defendant Johnson to be released from custody with conditions to follow.
In response, Deputy District Attorney Renishta Lal expressed that she wishes for bail to remain as set and for the defendant to not be released from custody.
DDA Lal clarified that when defendant Johnson allegedly broke the window and entered the apartment, the child was in the same room, but in a bed with the victim. She then revealed that the child was a seven-month-old infant.
Although the infant was not injured, DDA Lal said she was concerned by the aggressive manner in which the defendant allegedly entered the apartment.
DDA Lal also stated that the defendant also allegedly threw the victim’s phone at the wall and broke it while she was trying to call 911. He then “put both hands on her chest, slapped her mouth and nose, and punched her two times in the stomach.”
She clarified that, although there were no visible injuries to the victim, she still expressed great pain in being attacked. DDA Lal also said she was concerned because the defendant allegedly attacked the victim and broke a window in the presence of a child, and she stated again that she wants his bail to remain as is.
DDA Lal said that she called the victim earlier today and left a message, so she was not sure if the victim would desire a no contact order.
An emergency protective order was issued on September 21, and it is set to expire on October 28.
PD Ting suggested that if her client were released Tuesday, they could set a hearing for October 21, before the emergency protective order expires, where they could issue a no contact order in its place if the victim requests it.
Judge Scott Tedmon noted that defendant Johnson has no prior record, so he didn’t think he would skip his appearance if they set the hearing for October.
Although the judge said he was “concerned that the shards of glass fell into the infant’s crib,” he also noted it was “fortunate that the child was not there at the time.”
Judge Tedmon was satisfied with the EPO being in place through October 28, and decided to do a level 2 release for the defendant, with conditions, so that the victim and community at large would be protected.
Before he was released, Judge Tedmon said, “Mr. Johnson, I want to make something clear to you. I’m going to release you, but if there’s any provable violation of your release conditions, I can assure you that, in conjunction with any related information, you will go back into custody.”
The defendant’s next hearing is set for October 21 at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 60.
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