By Kate Hsu and Matthew Torres
WOODLAND, CA – Despite Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez requested reduced bail for his client, Willie Henry Smith, III, but Judge David W. Reed here in Yolo County Superior Court this week set bail at $11,000.
Smith is charged with felony second degree burglary, two counts of vandalism, and petty theft. He allegedly threw a cement block through the front windshield of a semi-trailer truck, according to a witness.
Smith requested to be released on supervised own recognizance (SOR). He had told DPD Gonzalez his plan was to stay in the Respite Center in Davis where he’d seek drug treatment for his history of substance abuse.
DPD Gonzalez argued the Woodland Probation Department does have officers check up on people who have obligations to the probation department while at the Respite Center.
DPD Gonzalez pointed out Smith has no apparent resources to pay for the bail amount, even if it were significantly lowered.
The public defender said, “In the first page where it talks about some of his resources, he basically has none. He wouldn’t have money to pay even what might be considered a low bail amount. Under the Humphrey court decision, that would effectively cause a de-facto pre-trial detention.”
According to the Harvard Law Review, the Humphrey decision was made by the California Supreme Court, stating that detaining a person pretrial solely because they cannot afford bail violates due process and equal protection.
Instead, DPD Gonzalez proposed for the court to release Smith on the condition that he stays local and out of trouble, referring to an ankle monitor and submission to drug treatment.
In response to the public defender’s plea for a release on SOR, Judge Reed noted the $7,000 estimated damage that Smith caused, adding that “setting a bail is without prejudice to the defense,” noting it was important because of public safety reasons, and set bail at $11,000.