Case Not Proven, but Judge Denies Release of Man because of His Prior, Similar Offenses

By Dayana Esquivel

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Joaquin Perez was arraigned in Santa Barbara County Superior Court earlier this week for charges of possession of controlled substances for sale with special allegations.

His defense attorney, Annie Hayes, asked Judge Clifford Anderson for her client to be released given that he has a stable place to live and will come back to court for his next appearance.

But the defendant release wasn’t going to happen, even though he’s not convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Justin Greene quickly opposed the request made by the defense and referenced the criminal history of Perez, for whom the DDA has a record of felonies going back to 1990 in Santa Barbara County with similar controlled substances offenses. Perez was last in Superior Court when he was convicted of possession of methamphetamine for sale in 2009.

More than a decade later, the defendant was arrested for the alleged possession of over two pounds of methamphetamine to sell and large amounts of cash. Perez was also charged with possession of more than 14 grams of heroin for sale.

Perez pleaded not guilty to all counts including special allegations. These special allegations included his prior narcotic convictions from the past decades and having more than 28 grams of methamphetamine and 57 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine for sale.

In addition, the special allegations of a controlled substance charge with a controlled substance prior and two prior offenses suggest presumptive state prison. Meaning that, if convicted, Perez may serve time in prison given his prior offenses.

DDA Justin Greene continued to state that Mr. Perez is a danger to the public and, given his reputation of similar charges, should be kept in custody.

Bail was also increased from $35,000 to $100,000 with the support of the Santa Barbara Police Dept., which said Perez has a lengthy experience selling narcotics and has easy access to large amounts of cash. Hence, SBPD and the District Attorney’s Office have concerns that the defendant obtained his income illegitimately.

Judge Anderson denied release due to prior convictions of a similar nature and Perez was remanded to the custody of the sheriff.

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