By Elizabeth Garabedian
SANTA BARBARA, CA – Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Michael Carrozzo called Monday for a continuance to Aug. 2 in the case of Joel Campos, who is facing one count of attempted murder from 2018—but Campos’ attorney brought into question his mental competency.
Although continuing the hearing, the judge did set bail at $1 million for Campos, competent or not.
Campos was charged with the murder of Jesus Reyes in 2018 but had his charges vacated after his attorney, Doug Hayes, noted Campos’ mental competency. Campos has been incarcerated for the last three years while awaiting trial for the attempted murder of Tomas Arzate from 2018.
Hayes questioned the mental competency of his client after asking the court for an update regarding release of Campos. Pretrial services tried on multiple occasions to contact Campos, but he repeatedly refused to speak with them and would not participate in an interview.
Judge Carrozzo affirmed Hayes’ right to declare doubt concerning the mental state of Campos, but stated that he had not seen enough evidence for the court to declare doubt or continue with Penal Code section 1368 proceedings.
The continuance became a bail review when attorney Hayes requested to address the issue of bail in conjunction with the possibility of suspending trial proceedings.
Hayes also requested the pretrial release of Campos, arguing that the time Campos has been incarcerated has been “detrimental to his mental health.”
In response to Hayes, Judge Carrozzo reiterated that he would continue with the court proceedings because he did not find that the lack of information provided anything pertinent to the case.
Hayes stated that the court should take Campos’ refusal to speak to mental health services and the ORBR people as new information that shows his worsening mental state. “The court can clearly see… that the lack of information is new information,” said the defense attorney.
Hayes said “continued incarceration” was not necessary because he felt that the evidence used to hold Campos fell “way, way short of any chance of him being convicted.”
After repeatedly expressing his doubts about Campos’s mental state, Hayes asked that bail be set at “a reasonable amount” because Campos is “absolutely impecunious” after the amount of time he has been in custody.
Hayes suggested that if the court does not release him on his own recognizance, then bail be set at $50,000 so Campos, with the help of his family, could raise the money to get him released.
Hayes argued that this would give him the opportunity to receive outside medical treatment, because “as it is now, I don’t believe he can get a fair trial, in terms of his ability to participate … in his defense.”
Deputy District Attorney Hans Almgren objected to this because the bail amount had been addressed several times over the last few years and he did not believe that anything had changed.
Judge Carrozzo acknowledged that “something has changed” because the murder charge had been dismissed, and asked the court what bail would be now for only attempted murder.
DDA Almgren cited the Humphrey analysis from his brief and noted that Campos was still facing a determinate sentence and an indeterminate life sentence doubled for his prior strike and other priors.
DDA Almgren asked that bail remain the same, $2 million, because Campos “is looking at a significant amount of time in prison.”
The court reduced bail to $1 million since Count 1 was dismissed, despite Hayes’ doubts that his client will serve a life sentence.
Judge Carrozzo decided to follow through with the proceedings and scheduled future dates for Campos’ other cases, competent or not.