Judge Won’t Raise Bail as DA Requests, but Also Won’t Release Man without $35K Bail

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By Alex Jimenez

OAKLAND, CA – During a bail hearing for Bernard Howard here Friday in Alameda County Superior Court, Public Defender Olivia Sideman asked Howard be released on his own recognizance, but Deputy District Attorney Monica Brock expressed her concerns, given Howard’s criminal history.

Howard is currently being held on $35,000 bail after being charged with felony battery and making threats with intent to terrorize.

According to PD Sideman, Howard is unable to pay the current amount and is concerned that he would lose his union job if he continues to be held in custody. Howard also provides for his two children.

It was suggested by Sideman that there could be less restrictive measures such as a criminal protective order that is already in place for the victim and confirmed that Howard would be able to stay in Oakland with his brother, negating any flight risk.

PD Sideman argued it would be a violation of Howard’s “rights to equal protection merely because he cannot afford bail.” In addressing the criminal history, Howard apparently does have three prior felony convictions but has been out of custody for seven years with minimal criminal history, according to Sideman.

DDA Brock said she would “strongly oppose” modifying bail unless it was to raise the amount, which she would formally request.

According to Brock, since being released in 2015, Howard has violated parole six times, and was recently convicted in December of 2020 for a domestic violence case in Butte County.

There are, the DDA added, two domestic violence related incidents that occurred this year. One of those incidents ended with the victim fleeing from her home followed by Howard on the freeway, swerving and trying to run the victim off the road.

In the most recent incident, said the DDA, Howard allegedly said he was “going to kill her when he sees her” and the victim took that threat seriously, given that he had kicked the victim in the ribs before and taking into account the freeway incident.

“The only thing that is consistent is that he is continuing to tell us that he is not going to obey the laws,” said Brock and expressed concern for the victim’s safety.

PD Sideman suggested that since there were no witnesses in the incident it is essentially one person’s word against the other person’s word—Judge Barbara Dickinson intervened, stating, “Humphreys (court precedent case) says that the courts are to assume that the charges are true.”

Sideman once again insisted that a criminal protective order would be sufficient to keep the victim safe.

Judge Dickinson would find a middle ground by opting to not raise bail but also not grant and or release given Howard’s criminal history.

Howard is set to return to court Dec. 16 for a trial readiness hearing.

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About The Author

Alex Jimenez is a 4th year politcal science major at the University of Calfornia, Berkeley. He has future aspirations to attend law school and is from Pleasanton, Ca.

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