After Prosecutor Claims Suspect Has ‘Funds,’ and Despite Letter from Accused’s Son, Judge Issues No Bail Warrant for Violation of Court Order

By Leila Katibah

SANTA BARBARA, CA – After the prosecutor said Michael Der Bagdasarian should be jailed on no bail because he has the “funds” to pay proposed $250,00 bail, the judge here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Wednesday ordered no bail for the man, who allegedly violated court orders requiring him to stay away from the victim he stalked.

Bagdasarian is facing sentencing on four felony charges, including stalking, and several counts of violating the court-issued temporary restraining order from the victim meant to prevent future domestic violence occurrences.

The accused’s son wrote a letter advocating behalf of his father, presented by his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Catherine J. Swysen.

Bagdasarian is currently out of custody, as he was released back in August, “on his own recognizance to provide pretrial release,” explained Judge Brian Hill.

During the previous hearing, the court decided Bagdasarian must attend in-patient mental health care while he is out of custody.

Deputy District Attorney Hannah L. Meyer recalled an email she received, saying the accused had been accepted to an outpatient program in Los Angeles, where he would be treated for a couple hours in the day.

“(But) it’s a different program, which is not our agreement,” stated DDA Meyer, “I just think Mr. Bagdasarian is not interested in treatment, and needs to go back into custody.”

Judge Brian Hill told Bagdasarian, who attended court via Zoom because he was not in Santa Barbara, he “on multiple occasions, violated the court order,” although, he noted this “doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be in custody forever.”

Bagdasarian attempted to interject, and Judge Hill warned him, “Don’t talk while I’m talking,” and continued, “I understood that you’d be in a program within a week or so of Aug. 31. We’re almost in October now and you’re staying in a hotel, correct?” Bagdasarian replied yes.

Judge Hill began to issue a bench warrant, authorizing Bagdasarian’s arrest for violating the court orders on multiple occasions, with bail set at $250,000.

But, the DDA asked the judge to not set any bail, commenting, “I know that Mr. Bagdasarian has funds and he is pending sentencing. So I don’t believe that he’s entitled to bail. I ask that there be no bail,” stated DDA Meyer, who also cited concerns for public safety if Bagdasarian were to remain out of custody.

Judge Hill then amended his order and ruled there will be no bail set, stating “the bench warrants have been set. I can order him to turn himself in. I ordered him not to have contact with people and that didn’t get too far. I’m suggesting it may be appropriate to take more expeditious action.”

About The Author

Leila Katibah is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is double majoring in Sociology and Middle East Studies with a minor in Professional Writing. After graduating, Leila plans to attend law school to pursue a career in Public International Law.

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