Sounds of Distress Fill Courtroom as Judge Denies Release, Sets $20,000 Bail

By Daniella Espinoza

OAKLAND, CA – An arraignment ended Tuesday with high emotions and a not guilty plea to a second-degree burglary felony charge in the Wiley M. Manuel Courthouse in Alameda County Superior Court.

During an arraignment for Marissa Allen, Deputy Public Defender Richard Foxall described why he is once again asking for a release of his client.

According to PD Foxall, the very first time that Allen was released, she did not get notice of the hearings she was supposed to attend. The second time, the accused was in fact brought into court but it is unclear whether there were previous conditions on the release.

Foxall then asked for his client to get released again on the basis that not only was she accused of a minor role in the burglary charge, but the co-defendant (who was actually working to get the lock off of a storage unit) has not been brought to court nor have they been charged. He states that “at best, his client “was a lookout.”

As the court session continued it became increasingly apparent that Allen was doing all that she could to indicate her sobriety and achieve a release from jail.

On top of her facing a count for burglary, it was stated by her attorney that Allen also struggles with a “pretty significant drug issue.”

Using this information, Alyssa Fielding, a prosecutor on the case, said the prosecution requested bail to be set at $20,000 because Allen has had multiple opportunities to improve, and Fielding was not “comfortable with having a treatment program being an option out of custody as last time, she promised that she was going to finish her residential treatment program, and this was not completed.”

Following this statement, the judge then turned to address Allen directly, stating he had no intention to release her pretrial, to which Allen can be heard saying, “But I’ve been clean.”

In response, Judge Colin Bowen replied, “Here’s the thing, I’m not going to release you on your OR (own recognizance, no bail required). I think the whole issue with drugs, substance abuse…” again followed by a plea by Allen that she has “been clean for six months.”

Judge Bowen added, “Ms. Allen you have to listen to me. The whole thing is that oftentimes people need help and need support. You’ve been released twice and significantly with conditions on both and you didn’t do them and failed to appear both times. I’m not going to release you, I’m going to set bail at $20,000 which is actually less than I’ve set before and that’s a provision without prejudice. I think it is helpful and would be good if there was some sort of resolution to some sort of treatment program. But the fact [remains that] a lot of times folks who have issues with drugs, the focus that they have, is getting out, not getting clean.”

Through muffled cries and evident sniffles from Allen, she repeated her pleas to the court, “I’ve been clean for over six months–”

“All right. Six months. It’s an ongoing process,” concluded Judge Bowen.

In the end, in a seeming rush to the finish, the judge then asked for a plea, to which PD Foxall responded “not guilty” and the court session came to a close with the scheduling of the next preliminary hearing on Sept. 27.

About The Author

Daniella is a fourth year transfer student at UC Berkeley pursuing degrees in both Political Science and Chicano studies. Before Berkeley, Daniella found her passion exploring the complexities of the criminal justice system and how this intersects with the Chicano community. After graduation, she plans to find work in the public sector where she hopes to make meaningful change in her community.

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