COURT WATCH: Defense Calls $750,000 Bail ‘Excessive and Unreasonable,’ Argues Self Defense – Judge Keeps Bail as Set

By Audrey Sawyer

MODESTO, CA – In a bail review hearing this week here in Stanislaus County Superior Court for a man accused of a stabbing and threatening witnesses, Judge Kellee Westbrook kept bail set at $750,000, despite arguments from Deputy Public Defender Jed Herrington the bail is excessive and unreasonable because it’s really a self-defense case.

DPD Herrington said the accused has currently been kept in county jail for three nights, and while the accused informed him that with assistance from both friends and family that bail could potentially be posted, the $750,000 amount is still excessive and unreasonable. The accused currently does not have any sources of income.

Evidence provided the court suggested the accused’s girlfriend was a coworker with the sister of the alleged central victim in the case, and another referenced victim also worked there. It was believed there was workplace-related harassment, the accused had gone to his girlfriend, and then there was a fight in the parking lot.

DPD Herrington referred to a previous preliminary hearing in this matter where it had been established that one of the alleged victims (the central one for the case) had testified that he had yelled “fighting words” against the accused.

Herrington noted here is video showing that the accused parked his car, the alleged victim came to the car, the accused then got out, and then the alleged victim punched the accused first. The alleged victim was then on top when the stabbing had occurred and they continued to fight at this time.

DPD Herrington pointed out he would consider this a self-defense matter because there was a “significant size gap between the two during the time of which the alleged stabbing had occurred.”

The defense also said, “It is alleged that (the accused) then FaceTimed a relative of the alleged victim and tried to threaten them to say they should not pursue charges. But that is dubious as there is no record of that. Even if that were to be true, we have a bail schedule. Bail at schedule (enhancement included) would be totaled to be $225,000.”

Deputy District Attorney Thane Nored, when discussing the events of what had allegedly happened, said that the participants gathered in a parking lot and the accused had left but drove around in his car twice.

DDA Nored charged that when the accused had come back, he was flashing “gang signs” to the alleged victim before exiting his car and allegedly sprinted towards the main victim and made a stabbing motion (eight alleged stab wounds).

According to DDA Nored, after the accused  posted bond, he had allegedly FaceTimed the other victim to say: “Count your days bitch, I’m going to kill you, your son, and your baby daddy.” DDA Nored said the accused allegedly proceeded to threaten witnesses in the case.

DDA Nored emphasized a “lengthy juvenile history,” including robbery, and that while it was juvenile history, it is still a history, adding, “The accused is a danger to the public and victim,” arguing that even if court went to schedule, bail still ought to be actually about $275,000.

DPD Herrington countered the gang affiliations by pointing out that it was said that the alleged main victim in the case had just assumed that they were gang signs.

Herrington emphasized, “If this were a gang case, the DA probably would have charged gang signals right now. Besides the 245 and aside from this incident involving his girlfriend and the coworkers, there is no evidence that he is a danger to the public at large. If we look at the preliminary transcript, it was admitted that the accused had fighting words directed towards him. They (alleged victims) are not innocent, and at minimum it was a mutual combat situation.”

After taking a break for Judge Kellee Westbrook to look over the transcripts, she said the court had filed a violation of the 136.1 section in the penal code and that she is aware it must be taken into account when ruling on bail.

The judge noted concern with the testimony of violence against the son and children, recognizing the accused had made phone calls right after being bailed out.

Bail remains at $750,000.

About The Author

Audrey is a senior at UC San Diego majoring in Political Science (Comparative Politics emphasis). After graduation, Audrey plans on attending graduate school and is considering becoming a public defender.

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1 Comment

  1. susanbassi

    Am very proud to be part of the reporting team for the Vanguard for several reasons. One  is the reporters naming judges, propsecutors and criminal defense attorneys, as well as private divorce attorneys. That  helps us all see patterns, and understand the wider perspectives.  We are covering family court cases here were the court staffer ( Rebecca Fleming) became the Santa Clara County Superior Court CEO, and was also a BBMP  active member.

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