Zero Dollar Bail after DA Office Decides to “Take a Chance” on Defendant

By Katie DaQuino, Alexander Jimenez, and Koda Slingluff

ALAMEDA, CA – With the District Attorney’s Office taking the pandemic and the unclear possession of the gun into account, a zero dollar bail was set for one lucky defendant charged with several counts related to car theft.

Presided over by Judge Barbara Dickinson, the Friday felony hearing in Alameda County Superior Court was set to discuss appropriate bail for the defendant, Maria Coria. But negotiations between defense and prosecution left Coria free to go the same day, after one witness recanted his statement.

Coria faced five charges—two related to an unregistered firearm and three related to stealing and driving a stolen vehicle. Additionally, she had one outstanding hold from outside of Alameda County.

Assistant Public Defender Michael Wu explained that the deputy district attorney on the case had recently had “a conversation with the complaining witness in [the] case, who indicated that the vehicle that had been stolen was actually not stolen by Ms. Coria.”

Without this witness, the three charges related to car theft were no longer relevant. Coria still had the firearm charges and an outstanding hold to be dealt with. 

Regarding the firearm, DDA Robert Ross conceded that because of “the fact of multiple hands, as they say, [were] associated with the gun involved in this case, and in consideration of the pandemic,” they would “take a chance with this.” 

The defendant was released without bail.

As a result of these charges, Coria is no longer permitted to have any deadly weapons. The judge also specified that “she must not be in control of any automobiles that do not belong to her.” 

A slight confusion arose over whether Coria would be allowed as a passenger in a car she did not own, but it was quickly cleared up. 

Initially, Judge Dickinson told the defendant that she was “ordered not to occupy or be around any automobiles.” Then, the judge clarified that she meant, “in control of any automobiles that do not belong to you.”

Coria’s defense counsel ended the hearing by reminding her of the single remaining matter. 

“Hopefully that [hold] will be taken care of quickly at San Jose,” PD Wu said, urging her to call him once released from custody. 

Katie DaQuino is a court watch reporter for The Vanguard at Berkeley. She is a sophomore studying Political Science, Public Policy, and Human Rights at Cal. She is from Los Gatos, California.

Alex Jimenez is a court watch reporter for The Vanguard at Berkeley. He is a senior Political Science major at UC Berkeley. He is from Pleasanton, CA.

Koda Slingluff is from Ventura, CA. He is a junior Philosophy student at UC Berkeley and Co-editor in Chief of The Vanguard at Berkeley. 


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About The Author

Koda is an incoming senior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Rhetoric. He is from Ventura, CA.

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