Judge Cuts $500,000 Bail in Half – Man Charged with 5 Domestic Violence Felonies Still Needs $250,000 to Get Out of Jail

By Jose Medina and Savannah Dewberry

SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento County Superior Court, Dept. 60, Thursday dealt with a calendar full of arraignments, most of them short—but one case involved a volatile marital dispute that dangerously spiraled out of control.

Defendant Harvinder Baraich, represented by Defense Attorney Jesse Ortiz, is charged with five felonies, including inflicting corporal injury on his spouse, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, using force likely to produce bodily injury, and criminal threats.

The alleged incidents took place in both November and December of 2020—both of which started after the defendant accused the victim, to whom he’s been married for 15 years with children, of being unfaithful.

The victim alleges that in the first incident the defendant was intoxicated and locked her in a room and beat her for approximately two hours.

In the second incident the victim alleges that Baraich hit her again, this time with the hilt of a knife, then pressed the knife against the her neck

According to Deputy District Attorney Annissa Galata, the victim told law enforcement that while Baraich hit her with the knife he also threatened her, saying, “I’m going to cut you and watch you bleed.”  Galata added that Baraich allegedly sat on the victim’s chest, not allowing her to leave, and suggested that “she should commit suicide so he could collect the life insurance.”

According to Galata, the victim wanted to break free as “she tried to scream, she could not breathe, she said she felt her body go numb,” and the victim thought about their kids and “asked him to stop for their children’s sake.”

Ortiz asked for a bail reduction on behalf of the defendant, for the alleged assault of his ex-wife. He asked that his client’s bail be reduced from $500,000 to $75,000, or for his client to be released on his own recognizance.

Despite the seriousness of the accusations, Ortiz insisted that there is no physical evidence of the accusations and that the photographs of the victim’s bruises were not dated and not serious enough to warrant a $500,000 bail.

Ortiz vouched for Baraich’s character, stating that his defendant is trying everything he can to be a good father for his children, and Ortiz promised that the defendant “is not going to do anything to cause harm to his ex-wife, in fact that would be contrary to his goal.”

He added that Baraich is trying to put his children first and that “he wants to be able to make amends so he can have access to his children, he has limited access now because of the restraining order.”

Galata opposed the requests made by Ortiz, arguing for bail to be kept at $500,000. She added that she was concerned for the victim’s safety. Galata revealed that the victim contacted her sister via an iPad, during both incidents, begging for help.

Galata added that the victim’s sister was interviewed and she expressed concern for the victim’s safety.

Judge James E. McFetridge was visibly distraught by the details of the incidents and stated that “the thing that stands out is we had two different instances that were roughly three weeks apart so that’s my concern.”

The court denied the Baraich’s request to be released under his own recognizance and only lowered the bail to $250,000 instead of the initial request of $75,000.

Judge McFetridge concluded that “given the seriousness of the charges and how it has been described, I don’t feel comfortable going below $250,000 for public safety reasons.”

The defendant has a status conference March 18.

Savannah Dewberry is a student at the University of San Francisco. She is pursuing a Media Studies major with a minor in Journalism. Savannah Dewberry is an East Bay native and currently lives in San Francisco.

Jose graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Political Science and has interned for the California State Legislature. He is from Rocklin, CA.

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