COURT WATCH: Judge Sets High Bail Despite Accused’s Homelessness, Questionable Evidence Presented by Defense 

By Kaylynn Chang and Vivian Nguyen

ALAMEDA, CA — A man accused of firearm possession was held in jail on $100,000 bail here last week after an arraignment hearing at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse, although Judge Elena Condes was informed of the accused’s current homelessness and unclear evidence.

While the accused has previous felony history with a firearm possession charge, this case related to Dec. 21, 2023, when a police officer riding around in “Ghost Town” in an unmarked car noticed the vehicle of the accused, who was with others, and pulled them over.

The charges alleged the accused fled the scene upon police arrival, leaving behind a firearm in the vehicle passenger seat. While police officers did not initially have a search warrant they obtained one a couple weeks later after the incident to search the residence of the accused.

Showing up at what they presumed to be the address of the accused, Deputy Public Defender Richard Foxall explained to the court the police found that it actually belonged to the girlfriend of the accused.

DPD Foxall argued there is a lack of evidence for the charges, citing that even the vehicle at the scene belonged to another individual after police searched and found a wallet and an ID inside the car that belonged to another person. Foxall also revealed the accused does not live in the area.

DPD Foxall revealed that under federal supervision, the accused has been working with the city of Oakland while homeless. He had spent time in prison due to his last felony conviction for 63 months. When questioned by the judge on how long he has been free, the accused stated that he has been “out two years, no trouble or nothing.”

Following DPD Foxall’s statements, Deputy District Attorney John Joseph Mifsud argued these recent charges—given the context of similar violent and dangerous charges in his past—demonstrate that the accused is “unwilling to abide by court orders” and requested bail to be posted at $230,000.

Judge Condes took notice of the accused’s financial conditions and homelessness, acknowledging the court was “unsure whether (the accused) could make it,” and reduced the bail to $100,000.

About The Author

Kaylynn Chang is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley looking to major in Legal Studies with a strong interest in criminal justice and judicial law. Having years of experence with journalism and leading a publication, she loves to look for the stories of her community, focusing on the hidden voices and intriguing tales of people. She hopes to attend law school in the future, but for now she is looking to gain experience and experiment with her path. A passionate creator, a cafe connoisseur, and a library enthusiast, Kaylynn is always looking for small adventures along with accomplishing big goals.

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