Claiming Only $10 in Drugs Is Enough for Judge to Deny Man’s Request to Lower Bail

By Isabelle Brady

MODESTO, CA – Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves last week denied a near-homeless man’s request—he said he only had a “few grams” of drugs on him—to lower his bail to $50,000 so that it is more affordable, even though the man promised he had no failures to appear at past court dates.

Jimmy Arechiga is charged with a felony for a hand-to-hand sale of methamphetamine, said Deputy District Attorney Sara Sousa, who charged the man had fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin “for the purpose of sale.”

Arechiga was caught selling $10 worth of methamphetamine, his defense attorney said.

At a Thursday bail review hearing, defense attorney Jacob Benguerel made Arechiga’s case for bail reduction, claiming, “Mr. Arechiga is requesting that bail be reduced to an amount that he could afford, which would be $50,000.”

The accused’s attorney argued, “He was out on probation and parole at the time of his arrest, but he only had two grams on him…he told the police department that he was homeless and just trying to survive. He indicates that he has no out-of-state connections. Everything he has is here in Stanislaus County…he doesn’t have any [failures to appear].”

DDA Sousa responded, “The People would oppose any reduction in bail…Mr. Arechiga is on parole, and Mr. Arechiga is on a new grant of felony probation for a domestic violence-related offense.”

Arechiga has been on felony probation since October 13, 2021.

Sousa continued, saying “the People would be opposed to any reduction in bail given the recency…he’s still on parole…and the officers did view a hand to hand transaction” of methamphetamine.

Judge Reeves, having heard both attorneys’ brief statements, said that “Mr. Arechiga has not submitted any financial information for the court to consider.”

Also affecting Judge Reeve’s decision of whether or not to reduce bail were Arechiga’s two strike felonies from 2005 and 2018, respectively, and one non-strike felony from late 2021.

“I’m gonna deny Mr. Arechiga’s request to have his bail reduced,” Judge Reeves ultimately decided, explaining, “I’ll allow him to renew it following the prelim after I’ve heard a little bit more about the facts of the case.

“The fact that Mr. Arechiga has already been on probation, has a relatively recent serious felony conviction, as well as a history that goes back to 2005 gives me pause to believe that he can remain crime-free pending his resolution of his case,” the judge added.

The preliminary hearing is set for April 6.

About The Author

Isabelle is a first year undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara majoring in philosophy. Her passions include writing, criminal justice reform and reading Kurt Vonnegut. She may or may not eventually attend law school.

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