By Avalon Amaral
SACRAMENTO – It’s a good news, bad news thing. Defendant and parolee Dandre Crawford—in custody since October on methamphetamine possession and intent to sell charges—had his bail reduced Thursday here in Sacramento County Superior Court. But his case was set for trial.
Probation Officer Alberto Cortes investigated Larkspur Landing Hotel last Sept. 29 in search of his parolee Crawford, who had two outstanding warrants—one misdemeanor and one felony. In addition, he had not been attending his scheduled probation meetings with Officer Cortes.
Upon his arrival at Larkspur Landing, Officer Cortes asked the hotel management if they had recent trouble with residents, and they identified Crawford, and a car owned by him, that had its windows smashed out while on hotel property.
Once Crawford’s room was located, officers conducted a probation search. During the search, they discovered three females residing in the room, about 49.7 grams of methamphetamine, two functioning scales, Ziploc bags, smoking paraphernalia for meth, a torch, and personal items belonging to Crawford.
Crawford admitted the drugs in his room were his, including the meth.
“Based on the large amount of the substance, and the functional digital scales that were located, and the packaging as well…(gave) me a pretty good indication that narcotics were used for sales or going to be used for sales,” PO Cortes told Deputy District Attorney Toni Linarez.
With Cortes’ experience and training in drug investigation and sales, Judge James Arguelles deemed him an expert in the subject, to which defense attorney Kathrine Lester objected.
She argued that Cortes’ experience is lacking because he “just began investigations in 2019, and has very limited experience in investigations, noting that his opinion regarding if there was intent is not applicable.
Lester provided a strong argument for defendant Crawford.
She highlighted the fact that Crawford wasn’t found in the room where the drugs were located, and, although he took ownership of the meth, he wasn’t informed of the exact amount. Lester believes that this is not an intent to sell case, but that of simple possession.
Judge Arguelles responded that he is the ultimate “fact-finder” of the preliminary hearing, and that he can conclude his own opinions without that of an expert. With that being said, he will take into account all information given to him—even that of the opinion of Officer Cortes.
Lester pushed for zero bail for Crawford because of the length of time served in jail without a preliminary hearing, as well as contracting COVID while incarcerated.
Linarez responded that, because of prior arrests and Crawford’s inability to show up to previously scheduled probation meetings, he is deemed a flight risk.
Arguelles concluded that a reduced bail of $50,000 was appropriate and set a trial for March 15.
Avalon Amaral, originally from Livermore, CA, is a junior at UC Davis. She is pursuing a degree in Sociology, emphasizing in Law and Society, and minoring in Psychology.
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