Judge Sets High Bail in Gun Possession Case Citing Danger to the Public

By Wayne Chan

WOODLAND, CA— in Yolo County Superior Court this week, Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays reminded Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt of the potential danger firearms pose in the hands of the wrong person.

The accused is currently involved in two felony cases. In one case, he is charged with the felonies of possession of a controlled substance while armed, possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony, and carrying of a firearm in a vehicle not in lawful possession.

He also has two misdemeanor charges of possessing a narcotic controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. In the other case, he has the same charges against him with the exception of possession of a firearm in a vehicle and an added misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of paraphernalia used to inject/smoke.

Previously, in the arraignment, Judge David Reed set bail at $200,000.

PD Van Zandt, representing the accused, requested either release from custody on the accused’s own recognizance or a reduced bail amount, and asked the judge his reasoning for the high bail.

Judge Reed explained the court was inclined to hold the accused in custody without bail because he was “a danger to the public…based on the fact that he’s not allowed to have guns, but repeatedly possesses guns with drugs.”

“First of all,” PD Van Zandt responded, “I am not seeing anything in the (court) report which says that he’s harmed anybody. To me, that’s not dispositive, but it should be by far the most controlling factor.”

The PD added, “It’s not like he’s 18 years old, and he hasn’t been given a chance. He’s 43. So he’s had over two decades to harm people, and he hasn’t. And now the court is saying he’s a public safety risk. I cannot reconcile that conclusion with his record.”

PD Van Zandt then asked the court to “apply the bail at schedule. Looking at his maximum exposure, [the court] can still set a significant bail amount.”

DA Hays responded that in the past, even a bail amount of around $50,000 “has not stopped him from possessing weapons or deadly drugs. I would dispute that he’s not a danger when he’s carrying fentanyl around.”

Hays added, “He has been convicted of drug sales, and he’s got guns. You could really easily get into the politics of how dangerous guns really are to this community right now, but we don’t really need to do that.

“To say that he’s not a public safety risk,” she asserts, “flies in the face of every school shooting and gun massacre that has happened in this community.”

She requested bail to be set at $200,000 for both cases.

Judge Reed said, “The court finds that by clear and convincing evidence, there are no conditions or combination of conditions that will protect the public or ensure his attendance at court. The court could justify no bail. The court is basing this finding on the fact that he’s been convicted of multiple felonies in the past which has prohibited him from owning or possessing guns.”

The judge added, “Notwithstanding those convictions, he has been arrested and convicted of possession of guns when he knows he legally cannot own or possess them.

“These two cases—he has once again possessed guns with no legal right and no lawful purpose. And for those reasons, the court finds him to be a public safety risk and could easily say no bail under the Humphrey analysis. Rather than remand him with no bail, the court sets bail at $200,000 for each case,” the judge concluded.

The accused is set to return to court Sept. 28.

About The Author

Wayne Chan is a 4th year philosophy student at University at California, Davis. He has a passion for reading and writing. After graduation, he wishes to pursue a career in law.

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