Judge Approves No Bail Motion, Cites Danger to Community and Victim

By Allison Hodge

FRESNO, CA– At a pre-preliminary hearing and arraignment for new felony charges, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Francine Zepeda this week granted a prosecution motion to set no bail for a defendant already accused of corporal injury on a spouse and child.

The defendant, Inocente Manuel Duque, was out of custody on bail when he was arrested again in June for alleged attempted murder, criminal threats, and the dissuasion of a witness by force. Duque also faces a misdemeanor charge of criminal contempt of court.

Judge Zepeda confirmed that the additional four counts came with an enhancement, which raised the defendant’s initial bail by $100,000.

Deputy District Attorney Heather Spurling filed a motion to set no bail for Duque, based on the severity of the crimes committed and the danger posed to the victim.

It is alleged that, on June 17, Duque was with the victim at a secluded location in Fresno, when he stabbed her in the neck and made repeated threats. The victim suffered significant wounds to her neck area, and was described by paramedics as having blood “gushing out of her neck.”

The defendant allegedly told the victim, “If I can’t have you, nobody can have you,” and claimed that he had planned to do this to her for a few days.

When the victim attempted to try to start her vehicle, the defendant reportedly grabbed her car keys and phone, so she couldn’t call for help. He, again, told her, “That’s how you’re going to end. If I can’t have you, nobody can.”

Spurling clarified that the victim was eventually able to plead with the defendant to let her go. Before she left, Duque allegedly told her, “Don’t let me find out they’re looking for me, because I’ll go back and finish the job. I’m going to take you with me if I have to do the time.”

The prosecution also reiterated the fact that Duque can be seen as a flight risk, noting he previously evaded police in Los Angeles before being arrested.

In light of the severity of the crimes and secondary offenses against the same victim, Spurling reiterated her request to have no bail set on Duque’s new charges.

Defense attorney Ryan King offered a rebuttal to the people’s request, arguing that the court should simply keep bail at the current amount.

King claimed that, because Duque could not afford the bail amount in the first place, there was no reason to institute a no-bail policy.

Judge Zepeda, however, retorted that to purposefully state a higher bail that she knows the defendant cannot pay would be disingenuous on the part of the court. She reiterated that she was, “…going to be honest about it and hold [the defendant] on no bail.”

Judge Zepeda also reasoned that Duque presents a danger to himself, the public, and the victim based on his actions while out on bail. Given that the defendant was already released for a previous case and still committed new crimes, there should be no reason to grant bail again.

Though Duque does not have a horrible criminal record, Judge Zepeda cited his history with the victim as reason enough to refuse release.

Given the seriousness of the crimes, lack of compliance with court orders, and the likelihood of failure to appear for future court dates, Judge Zepeda moved to set no bail, approving Spurling’s motion.

A criminal protective order was also granted on behalf of the victim, given the frequency of offenses and the likelihood of further offense against her. Duque will not be allowed to have any communication or contact with the victim, and cannot possess firearms or ammunition.

Before setting preliminary hearing dates, the defense asked to combine Duque’s other case with his current charges, given that they both involve the same victim. Judge Zepeda granted the request and combined the cases.

Another pre-preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 10, with the preliminary trial arranged to begin on August 17.

About The Author

Allison is a rising senior at UC Davis, majoring in History and Political Science. She is originally from Clovis, CA, and is pursuing a career in civil rights and/or constitutional law.

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