By Allison Hodge
SACRAMENTO, CA– All defendants are not created equal. Defendant Billy Fobbs found that out this week in Sacramento County Superior Court, where his lawyer’s motion to reduce bail was denied, despite Fobbs allegedly playing a “secondary” role in a robbery.
While his two co-defendants are free awaiting trial, Fobbs is in custody with $1 million bail set.
Fobbs was arrested back in April, along with two other co-defendants, who allegedly took part in the robbery and physical attack of a female victim. Fobbs was already on five-year probation in connection with three other charges at the time.
The two other co-defendants, who remained unnamed, are currently out of custody on bail.
Koehler took the opportunity to cite the status of the co-defendants as reason enough to ask for a level 6 pre-trial release of Fobbs who, she argued, was the least active in the robbery.
The female victim of the robbery identified two individuals who she believed participated. One named individual was the now-charged co-defendant, while the second was someone she thought “…might be called Billy.”
Koehler argued that the victim failed to identify the defendant in a police line-up initially, and that there was no connection between Fobbs and the victim that would have compelled her to not correctly identify the defendant.
She noted that if she were trying to hide the defendant’s identity, she would not have named “Billy” to begin with.
Koehler further maintained that the “Person who may have been Billy,” was not allegedly involved in any part of the robbery. It was the charged co-defendant who demanded money and allegedly attacked the victim, while the third unknown individual did a “pat down” of another witness at the scene.
It is alleged that “Billy” just stood by and watched, according to the complaining witness and female victim.
Fobbs is also charged in this case with illegally possessing a firearm – he was on three grants of felony probation at the time.
In this regard, Koehler argued that the identification of the defendant was based solely on a single surveillance tape that showed a car, which was later involved in evading police, pull up to a convenience store.
The video shows a co-defendant getting out of the passenger seat and fleeing the scene, and positively identifies the other charged co-defendant in the driver’s seat. Fobbs, meanwhile, was alleged to be in the rear seat of the vehicle.
The vehicle was later found to be abandoned, where police discovered a firearm inside.
The defense maintained that, because there was no other identification of the defendant outside of the video and no way to prove which co-defendant had the firearm, Fobbs should not be considered as “heavily involved” in the robbery.
Koehler also added that the defendant was 21 years old at the time, and held considerable ties with the community.
Fobbs lived with his mother and allegedly helped out with costs around the house. Koehler also mentioned that she does not believe Fobbs to be a flight risk if released, and that he had good standing while previously on probation.
The defense concluded with the request that the defendant be released on level 6, with GPS monitoring, as the other more heavily involved co-defendants remain out of custody.
Deputy District Attorney Jesse Saucedo responded to the request with disapproval and stated that the defendant was being held on bail for prior strikes and violations of probation, unlike the other co-defendants.
Saucedo asserted that Fobbs was absolutely an “active” participant in the robbery, and cited his previous evasions of the law while on probation.
The D.A. said that he, “Just [doesn’t] see how someone who evades and participates in robbery should be considered to have reduced bail.”
Saucedo put forth his own proposal to have no bail set in this case.
After hearing the defense and prosecution’s positions, Judge Timothy Frawley concluded that even if the defendant was not a major actor in the case as the defense states, Fobbs still presents a threat to public safety.
Judge Frawley held that the defendant’s alleged criminality is fairly consistent, and his breach of probation simply cannot be ignored. The defense’s motion to reduce bail was, thus, denied.