By Roselyn Poommai
SACRAMENTO, CA – A Sacramento County Superior Court judge Monday initially agreed to release a defendant from custody for possession of child pornography, before noting he may have been “twisted up” and reversed his ruling, sending the defendant back to jail.
Defendant Jason Gilford, charged with his third felony-degree complaint of possession of child pornography, appeared in court Monday morning for a bail motion.
Although he was released from custody on bail for the last two possession charges, Deputy District Attorney Bruce Chang was reluctant to release him on the same conditions again.
“The problem I have, your Honor, is that this is the third felony child porn case, and he’s shown that he doesn’t care at all and is not likely to abide by any conditions that are imposed by Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS),” he explained.
Chang added that the defendant had recently acquired a new PRCS violation just a month before being charged with the present case.
When Judge Patrick Marlette noted that there was not enough evidence to declare Gilford an imminent danger, DDA Chang argued that his conduct creates “a threat to all children, not just the children that are being exploited in the video.”
Assistant Public Defender Samantha Ting pointed out that there was no evidence of her client’s access to or contact with the 30 children in the images he obtained, describing them as “internet strangers.”
DDA Chang held his stance, insisting the defendant remain in custody for public safety reasons.
“The bottom line is that there are 30 children that are being victimized somewhere because of this client’s thirst for watching the sexual exploitation of children,” he maintained. “There wouldn’t be children being exploited if there weren’t a market, and there wouldn’t be a market if there weren’t demonstrated conduct by defendants like this.”
However, Judge Marlette agreed with the public defender that the DDA’s statement was not specific enough to declare Gilford a threat.
Upon the Humphrey bail motion, which requires the court to consider a defendant’s ability to pay bail, Judge Marlette decided to release defendant Gilford under Level 5 probation terms. The court additionally required that Gilford submit all his electronic devices and account passwords to the probation department and be deprived of internet access.
Before adjourning the defendant’s case, Judge Marlette appeared visibly puzzled, apparently when he realized that he missed an essential piece of information in his notes, that the defendant was under Post Release Community Supervision when arrested for his third felony charge.
This piece indicated a sufficient probation violation, making Defendant Gilford’s status under PRCS ineligible for the Humphrey bail motion.
“Well, you know what, I’m getting caught up in what the rules are, and I’m ignoring common sense,” Judge Marlette said, noting he had been “twisted up.”
The judge then withdrew the defendant’s initial bail release.
“He’s on supervision for possession of obscene material. He’s charged with possession of obscene material. I’m going to keep him in custody, no bail on the [current case],” Judge Marlette concluded.
Defendant Gilford’s matter will resume on June 28 in Dept. 63.
Roselyn is a second-year undergraduate double-majoring in Psychological Science and Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. A native of Los Angeles, California, she is passionate about the role of human behavior in the criminal justice system.
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