Displaced Man Asks for Court’s Help – Judge Tosses Him in Jail, Triples Bail

By Carson Eschen

SANTA BARBARA, CA – The judge here in Santa Barbara Superior Court last week remanded a man back into custody and reissued bail at $100,000 after alleged violations of his terms of release, despite claims by the man that he was suffering from depression and other extenuating circumstances.

Jose Luis Hernandez is charged with felony reckless evasion of a peace officer and two misdemeanors: disturbing the peace and driving without a license. He was arraigned back in July, but was released on bail in the amount of $30,000.

However, Hernandez was arraigned again in September for a separate case, in which he was charged with false imprisonment and inflicting corporal injury on a cohabitant. He was released again, this time with an additional $10,000 bail, a protective order for the victim, and a GPS tracking device.

The purpose of the hearing last week was to set the preliminary hearing for the trial. However, the court also discussed Hernandez’s violations of the release terms.

Presiding Judge Brian Hill noted Hernandez failed to comply with the terms of the release agreement and had a history of not showing up for court dates. Specifically, Hernandez had not kept his GPS tracker charged and had violated the exclusionary zone established by the protective order.

However, Assistant Public Defender Carrie Peterson, who represented Hernandez, asked for leniency, arguing Hernandez had had personal difficulties, but had also worked out a plan of action.

She said the protective order had forced Hernandez out of his previous home, causing an unstable living condition and making it difficult for Hernandez to charge the tracker.

She further outlined that Hernandez was relying on Uber and rides from friends for transportation, making it difficult for him to have absolute control on his location.

She continued, stating Hernandez had now secured housing with his aunt, well away from the exclusionary area, as well as a bicycle, giving him greater control over where he was.

The stable housing would also ensure that he had a way to charge the battery on the GPS. She also stated that Hernandez had a prospective job at a car wash he had worked at previously.

Peterson also relayed that Hernandez had said he was depressed and overwhelmed and wanted to seek mental health resources.

Ultimately, Judge Hill decided to remand Hernandez back into custody, citing Hernandez’s violent criminal history and his inability to comply with court orders, and stating there had been multiple probation officers “basically pleading with him to comply with terms and conditions.”

Hill issued a new bail on the felony at $100,000, an increase of $70,000 over the previous amount, citing a public safety risk.

Finally, the court set both the preliminary hearing for the felony and the readiness and settlement conference for the misdemeanor on Nov. 18.

About The Author

Carson Eschen is a fourth year Political Science and Philosophy double major at UC Santa Barbara. He plans on becoming a lawyer.

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