Defense Blames Defendant’s Crimes on His Neighborhood – Judge Doesn’t Buy It, Revokes Bail

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By Dorrin Akbari

SACRAMENTO, CA — Assistant Public Defender Joshua Kurtz’s argument that his client amassed three felonies because of his neighborhood apparently fell on deaf ears when Judge Geoffrey Goodman decided to hold the defendant in custody and revoke his bail.

Defendant Adroit Wade appeared in Sacramento County Superior Court Dept. 61 Monday for a hearing regarding his “Humphrey” reduced bail motion. PD Kurtz sought to have his client released on his own recognizance although Wade has twice been arrested with a felony while out on $50,000 bail.

Wade’s bail for this current case had been set at $300,000.

PD Kurtz opened by stating that his client had no income or real property and could, therefore, not afford bail of any kind. If released, Wade would be living with his mother, who Kurtz was quick to note had recently moved to a new address.

“If being out on a $50,000 bond didn’t keep him from committing a serious offense, how would release on his own recognizance protect the public?” asked Judge Goodman as he reviewed the three separate cases on his docket associated with Wade.

Wade had been charged with felony assault in both May and July of 2020, and his most recent offense was for a felony arson that had taken place in August 2020, less than a month after he’d posted bail on his second offense.

“The incidents Mr. Wade was involved in at the old neighborhood were the result of that situation in particular,” contended Mr. Kurtz. “My belief is that since his mother has moved to a different neighborhood and Mr. Wade would be living with his mother, that would be taken care of.”

To further cement his argument that his client’s neighborhood was the explanation for his alleged criminality, Kurtz added: “I know Mr. Wade had no trouble with the justice system prior to moving with his mother into the neighborhood where those three incidents occurred.”

Addressing the court, Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weiss remarked that she disagreed with APD Kurtz’s assessment of his client’s case “based on the facts in front of me.”

Judge Goodman requested that DDA Weiss read those facts for the record, and she recited that Wade’s first offense was for the unprovoked stabbing of a neighbor with a knife.

However, Kurtz noted that there was evidence suggesting the stabbing had actually been provoked and the victim was a neighborhood nuisance.

Following his release on a $50,000 bond, Wade allegedly attempted to break into a different neighbor’s home by shooting a rifle-style BB gun at the neighbor’s window—leaving shattered glass and bullets inside the home, said the DDA.

He once again posted a $50,000 bond on that offense, and one month later he was said to have lit the passenger side of a third neighbor’s car on fire, added the prosecutor, although no one was present in the vehicle at the time.

“The defendant is young, so I don’t think his lack of criminal history [before moving to this neighborhood] speaks to the serious danger he poses to any neighborhood he enters,” said DDA Weiss as she concluded her reading of the facts.

“Who knows what will happen to his new neighbors that the defense has represented he will have,” Weiss added.

Judge Goodman was inclined to agree, concluding that it would not be in the public’s best interest to release the defendant on his own recognizance. He ruled Wade should be held in custody and his bail revoked.

“I don’t see that there’s any combination of conditions that’ll guarantee the defendant is going to obey the law while he’s out. Clearly, when he’s out on bond it doesn’t do it, so I don’t see how releasing him without additional security would make sense,” said the judge.

Wade will return to court on May 17. In the meantime, Mr. Kurtz said he will be pursuing mental health evaluations for his client as part of his defense.

Dorrin Akbari graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 with a B.A. in Legal Studies and a minor in Persian. She is from San Jose, CA.

 


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