Unhoused Man Stuck with $18,000 Bail, Public Defender Calls for Earlier Bail Hearing

By Ramneet Singh

WOODLAND, CA – Judge Daniel Wolk here in Yolo County Superior Court this week set an aggregate $18,000 bail for an unhoused man because of his failures to appear in a host of cases—but it didn’t stop Deputy Public Defender Danielle Craig pushing for no bail, supervised release and the earliest possible bail hearing.

The court calendar shows nine separate cases against the accused, eight misdemeanors and one felony. The felony case involves vandalism, Count 2 as a misdemeanor paraphernalia possession, and a prior felony enhancement.

One of the misdemeanor cases involves vandalism with trespassing and drug paraphernalia possession from January. There are two other misdemeanors from this year. This was the first case Judge Wolk mentioned.

Two of the misdemeanors listed are traffic violations.

DPD Craig desired to be heard on his custody status. She noted “we’re only looking at one felony count but for that count (the accused) would not have been in custody to begin with.”

She continued “He informs me that he has been unhoused in Woodland for at least five years…Based on this one felony vandalism count, based on his ties to the community, I don’t believe he is a threat.”

Craig wanted no bail release with conditions of something like an ankle monitor.

Judge Wolk directed probation to provide further information—probation believed since the accused has pending cases and the failures to appear, he is less likely to appear for the felony case.

Probation later cited the failures to appear were the main reason why probation recommended denial of release. The officer noted that a GPS monitor may not mean he would appear because the monitor needed to be kept charged.

Following Judge Wolk’s acknowledgement of the failures to appear, Deputy District Attorney Martha Wais stated, “I can’t show any appearances on the nine cases.”

Additionally, DDA Wais stated “there are victims in this case. This is not the only 594 that he has where he’s breaking…into businesses.”

DDA Wais cited his probation on a similar charge out of Sacramento. She continued, saying “we have no belief that if he is out of custody that he will return to custody.”

Judge Wolk asked about the prior felony conviction charge, but DDA Wais stated, “No, that’s an 1170(b), statement in aggravation.”

DPD Craig understood probation’s position on the GPS monitor, stating that it “may be setting him up for failure.” However, she noted that there could be other conditions under a release, suggesting her client “would like to show the court that he is open to any conditions that are reasonable.”

DPD Craig agreed with Judge Wolk’s assessment that the accused couldn’t make bail.

Probation added the accused’s “refusal to interview with us for his SOR assessment gives us concern as to his ability to follow terms and conditions.”

DPD Craig responded she could further inform her client on what the interview entails, adding, “I think when folks are first coming into the jail, it is a very stressful time for them and that refusal to engage…may not have been as informed as it would be now.”

Judge Wolk acknowledged her points, but noted “a number of cases here and a number of failures to appear.” Based on the felony bail is $10,000 and for each of the misdemeanors it is $1,000.

DPD Craig accepted Judge Wolk’s suggestion of a bail review hearing, allowing probation time to interview the accused.

Judge Wolk set the preliminary hearing for Feb. 28, and the misdemeanors for pre-trial conference and bail hearing Feb. 21.

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