No Guarantee Defendant Will Not ‘Settle Score Upon Release, So Judge Won’t Release Man

By Jeramie Gutierrez 

ALAMEDA, CA – In a bail hearing late last week here in Alameda County Superior Court, defendant Ruben Martinez’s bail status was set to “no bail” because the court felt there is no clear evidence that would guarantee Martinez would not carry out a threat to shoot his co-workers.

The threat in question happened toward his fellow co-workers after an argument during Martinez’s work shift at the Oakland Airport, where Martinez allegedly claimed that he would “go to his car, get a gun, and then come back and shoot them.” 

After being apprehended by airport police, his truck was searched and no firearm was found. Martinez had been drinking while this threat occurred.

On the defense, Alameda Assistant Public Defender Joseph Irving Goldstein-Breyer stressed Martinez’s inability to actually carry out the threat at the time it was made. He discounted Martinez’s threat as drunken, “borderline just banter at work.”

“In terms of the objects of where he’s working, what’s going on with our society right now, it’s incredibly scary. But that doesn’t mean that Mr. Martinez himself presents such a danger,” said PD Goldstein-Breyer.

Concerning Martinez’s bail, PD Goldstein-Breyer proposed that restrictive conditions rather than bail reductions would better satisfy the court. He proposed an ankle monitor, stay-away orders from his co-workers and Oakland Airport, and substantial proof of alcoholism treatment.

However, Judge Morris Jacobson’s main concern since the beginning of this bail hearing was not about “what happened in the event” but about “the likelihood of [the defendant] carrying out the threat after he’s released.”

In other words, even if Martinez did not have a gun at the time of the threat, there is no guarantee that Martinez would not get a gun and carry his threat out upon release.

“We’ve had many, many examples in our society—over many years now—where people make these kinds of threats, and come back two weeks later, “ said Judge Jacobson. “A stay-away order is not going to do anything to slow him down, nor will an ankle monitor, nor will him promising to go through some alcohol treatment. None of those things will stop him if he’s just dead set on settling a score.”

In the current situation, Judge Jacobson found no ability with the current evidence to evaluate seriousness, anger, or likelihood of Martinez’s original threat without having a preliminary hearing to “flesh things out.” 

Letting Martinez post bail could become a failure to “protect basic public safety,” Judge Jacobson said  “I’m not in any hurry to make this decision.”

Defendant Martinez’s bail hearing with Judge Jacobson was set to continue, running subsequently along with his preliminary hearing with an undisclosed judge on July 15. Until then, Martinez is still in custody.

About The Author

Jeramie Gutierrez is a fourth year French Studies major and Legal Studies and Sociology minor at the University of San Francisco with a growing interest in law.

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