Nightmare Continues: Despite Strong Evidence of ID Theft, Woman Accused of String of Thefts across CA Still Held without Bail in Sacramento

By Ned Meiners

SACRAMENTO, CA – The nightmare continues for Akaila Elder—Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Joseph Orr held Elder without bail here Wednesday, even though there is substantial evidence she is a victim of ID theft and did not commit any crime.

Elder has been accused of multiple thefts in counties across California, however it appears someone has been using her name and identity. Charges in one county have already been dismissed.

Judge Joseph Orr began the hearing by stating that the defendant had warrants in several California counties including Santa Clara, Napa and Orange Counties. Because of this, there was no bail set in the case, and Elder could not be released from custody.

Defense Attorney Tamara Soloman explained the situation. “Someone is using her name and has been picked up in multiple counties and it’s always the same activity, theft related,” said Soloman.

Previous charges against Elder have been dropped elsewhere.

“The cases against her in Solano County have already been dismissed because the district attorney looked at pictures in the surveillance and realized it wasn’t her,” said Soloman. “But the same person is using her identity throughout different counties.”

For that reason, Soloman requested that Elder be released on her own recognizance while the case was sorted out.

The judge was unmoved by this argument. When asked to remove the holds on the defendant, he responded, “I’m not going to touch it.”

According to Orr, if he released her in Sacramento County, she would then be sent to another county where she has a warrant and the process would begin again.

Judge Orr lectured the defense, stating, “You’re the one that’s, unfortunately, going to have to contact these counties, submit photographs so they can compare it with what they’ve got in their booking photos…and get the warrant dismissed in those counties before it gets reduced here.”

Soloman agreed she would provide the appropriate evidence to the counties in question, but, in the meantime, felt Elder should be free, stating, “I was just asking for her to be released so she’s not sitting in jail for crimes she did not commit.”

Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weiss also felt Elder was being wrongly held, and her co-defendant in the case, Shamajai Jack, had committed the crimes. “Her co-defendant has been prosecuted for a string off thefts and robberies very similar to this,” noted Weiss, “Ms. Elder, to my knowledge, doesn’t have a criminal history.”

The prosecutor stated that she was waiting to see the report from Solano County that exonerated Elder, and then she would be amendable to releasing the defendant as well. For this reason, she asked Judge Orr to resume the hearing at the soonest possible date.

“What I would hate to have happen is set this out eight weeks and three weeks from now find out it should have been dismissed, and she’s in custody,” said Weiss.

Judge Orr did not see it that way.

“This is going to take a long time to do,” he noted. “Even if you dismissed this case, that’s for sure not going to be the end of it. She’s going to go to one of these other five counties and the same thing is going to occur.”

Judge Orr then denied release for the defendant, but agreed to a hearing on June 7, nearly three weeks away.

Even if the prosecution agrees to Elder’s release in Sacramento County at that date, it is unclear if the warrants in other counties can be resolved by that point.

In the meantime, Elder remains in custody.

Ned Meiners is a Legal Studies student at City College San Francisco. Originally from Maine, he currently resides on Bernal Hill in San Francisco.


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