Judge Revokes Probation, Sets High Bail for Veteran Repeat Offender, Who Reacts Violently


By Angelina Sang

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Raimundo J. Montes de Oca Tuesday revoked the probation of a veteran with a long history of serious criminal activity and set $50,000 bail—in response, the military vet chastised the judge, throwing his headphones in his cell.

Bryan McNeil faced several felony charges, including hate crimes and battery that allegedly occurred just a day after his Veterans Treatment Court Review.

McNeil’s criminal history in the Santa Barbara and Ventura area dates back to 1998. He’s been consistently convicted of numerous crimes ranging from injuring his partner to repeated drunk driving charges. McNeil has entered a not guilty plea to his most recent felony charges.

Nevertheless, McNeil’s lawyer, Robert Dahlstedt. told the judge he would like to be heard regarding his client’s release, but Judge Montes de Oca responded by revoking McNeil’s probation and setting the bail for McNeil’s alleged felony charges at $50,000.

“I have represented Mr. McNeil. He has been in Veterans Treatment Court I believe for over a year now,” said Dahlstedt. “I ask that you set bail at a lot less than $50,000. That is just out of reach for him and he might have a chance to bail if it’s less than that.”

The defense attorney explained how McNeil’s housing is arranged by the treatment court and McNeil has attended all his scheduled classes at the treatment center.

According to a Veterans Treatment Court press release, the sanctuary “promotes sobriety, recovery and stability for veterans of Santa Barbara County by establishing a viable option for a select group of veterans whose needs are better met through treatment than incarceration.”

Judge Montes de Oca refused to lower the $50,000 bail, noting McNeil’s warrant out of Ventura and the fact that McNeil’s felony charges were allegedly committed just a day after he last appeared in court.

“Though he may, at least on that day [6/29], have been doing well, you certainly can’t say that was the case on 6/30, the day this alleged offense occurred,” said Judge Montes de Oca.

“You’re ruining everything I went for,” the accused McNeil commented in response to his pricey bail and revoked probation. The accused was seen on Zoom standing up, tearing off his headphones and throwing them to the ground of his cell.

The case will be moved to a new department to reconvene on July 12.


About The Author

Angelina is a junior at UCSB from San Carlos, California studying Psychological and Brain Sciences and History pursuing a pre-law track.

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