Landmark Humphrey Bail Case Comes into Play in Sacramento Courtroom

By Alexander Ramirez

SACRAMENTO, CA – In Sacramento County Superior Court last week, Judge Scott Tedmon faced what would have been normal instances of bail review…if it weren’t for the recent In re Humphrey bail case in the California Supreme Court.

The ruling in the Humphrey case has set a precedent for bail review that requires judges to take into consideration a defendant’s ability to pay for bail, along with the already present flight risks and public safety risks when setting a defendant’s bail.

This new precedent has already found its way into multiple cases on the April 7 calendar in Dept. 60.

Satnam Singh was in court for an arraignment regarding a felony corporal injury to spouse or cohabitant, a return on bench warrant, and the failure to complete the First Offender Program.

Singh was also said to be able to live with family in Sacramento with transportation to the court and an inability to pay for bail due to being unemployed, but he also has a previous DUI case from 2017 and 11 prior bench warrants for failures to appear.

Releasing Singh on his own recognizance (OR) without bail was denied.

However, it is here where the notion of bail in regard to the Humphrey case caused a slight hiccup in the case. After asking around the room for both the defense’s and prosecution’s interpretation of the ruling, Judge Tedmon gave his own.

Tedmon advised that, between now and the April 14 date for bail review and further proceedings, the defendant has to compete a CR-115 form, which is a form for a defendant’s Statement of Assets. This is probably to gauge the defendant’s ability to pay bail and how much Singh is able to pay.

Another case where the Humphrey case came into the picture was a case involving defendant Cornel West, who was in court on a count of corporal injury to cohabitant or spouse.

A release on his own recognizance was requested by West’s public defender on the basis that West has had no recent prior convictions, has lived in Sacramento for all his life minus the time he went to college in Nevada, to which he has almost finished and will receive his degree.

It was also brought to the attention of the judge by the public prosecutor that West has had a 1993 count of vehicular manslaughter and a 2001 DUI, along with a factual basis recounting the victim of the case being beaten by the defendant over suspected cheating.

Here, the Humphrey case also came in when it came to the judge deciding what was the appropriate bail for West.

When the judge asked the public defender on his thoughts regarding the Humphrey case as it pertains to West’s case, the public defender answered that the “law hasn’t been focused on liberties, and Humphreys aims to change that.”

West was released on level four after it was determined that he was no flight risk and had ties to his community. Further proceedings were scheduled for May 5.

The last case in which the Humphrey case came up in was that of Jermaine Walker, who has been in custody for more than three years for a drive-by shooting involving the victim and her new spouse.

Due to the recent change of law, defense attorney Nelson found a bail review for an old case like this one was necessary.

Judge Tedmon still had to take into consideration flight risk and threats to public safety, so when the prosecutor restated the severity of the case, along with Walker’s previous escape from prison and life offense, Tedmon found that there was no reasonable bail under the Humphrey case for Walker.

A trial readiness conference was scheduled for May 13.

Alexander Ramirez is a third-year Political Science major at the University of California, Davis. He hopes to hone his writing skills in preparation for the inevitable time of graduation.

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