COURT WATCH: Judge Assumes $50,000 Bail Affordable for Mother, Acknowledging Charges Might Cost Accused Her Job

By Maeve Haggerty and Sarah Chayet

MODESTO, CA – Judge Linda A. McFadden set bail at $50,000 for an accused here in an arraignment hearing at Stanislaus Superior Court last Thursday, stating the amount would be feasible for the accused to pay.

But, Judge McFadden was also aware the accused is a single mother of four, and acknowledged the charges she was facing might cost the accused her job at a warehouse. The prosecution had initially asked for a bail of $185,000.

The accused pleaded not guilty to felony charges of firearm and ammunition possession. These charges additionally violated the terms of the accused’s probation for a previous drug sales felony out of San Joaquin County.

“My five year probation was supposed to be over this June…I was supposed to be able to expunge my record in June,” said the accused.

“Yeah, well…that’s the thing. You got picked up before any of that expired,” responded Judge McFadden.

During Thursday’s hearing, the prosecution cited evidence of an alleged social media post in which the accused was seen in a vehicle with the weapon.

The defense made clear that neither the firearm nor vehicle belonged to the accused; the accused had been in town for a birthday party.

Judge McFadden said that it was likely the accused who was taking the fall for the other passengers in the car.

During the hearing, the judge speculated a substance dependency likely contributed to the accused’s criminal record and suggested a rehabilitation program would be a good path forward for the accused.

“It sounds like substance abuse may be a major issue for the accused…I could be wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me if substance abuse played a big part in some of the convictions we see in her record,” said Judge McFadden.

The defense stated that the accused would be willing to agree to strict terms of release, specifically mandatory NA or AA and random searches, if the judge granted it.

The defense emphasized the accused has not picked up any additional charges since being put on probation, and has a steady job.

While debating bail, the judge spoke of her concern for the children of the accused.

“I think, and I could be wrong, but the fact that she’s on felony probation for drug sales suggests to me that she might be involved with other people who she shouldn’t be involved with. Especially because she has children she’s required to take care of,” said McFadden.

Despite an emotional response from the accused, Judge McFadden spoke to her extensively of the children’s need for a good mother who does not abuse substances or involve herself with people who own weapons or abuse substances themselves.

“Those children need a responsible mother who does not use drugs or hang around with drug dealers or users,” said Judge McFadden. “That’s what they need.”

While discussing the accused’s children, Judge McFadden added she was “pretty certain that they’re going to end up in the court system, too” if the accused did not stay out of trouble and set a good example for them.

According to the judge, the best outcome would be a drug treatment program where the accused would be able to see her children. However, she also acknowledged the possibility the accused could serve time.

The judge set bail at what she deemed to be a reasonable amount of $50,000.

About The Author

Maeve Haggerty is a second year student at the University of Vermont pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Global Studies. As an intern with the Davis Vanguard Court Watch, Maeve hopes to deepen her understanding of the criminal justice system, the law, and the reforms that are necessary to create a more just system. She is passionate about writing and studying political systems in order to improve social justice issues.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for