COURT WATCH: $75,000 Bail Set for Accused, Who Could Lose Job – Judge, DA Deem Accused ‘Flight Risk’  

By Sarah Chayet

MODESTO, CA – Judge Shawn Bessey assigned a bail of $75,000 to an accused person here Tuesday in Stanislaus Superior Court who, as Deputy Public Defender Ryan Michael Bowler said, might lose her job as a result of being in custody. 

Bowler had suggested the accused be released on own recognizance (OR), but Deputy District Attorney Robert Warren argued bail be set because of the accused’s long criminal record.  

The accused entered not guilty pleas to felony charges of organized retail theft in excess of $1,000.

In the DDA’s argument for bail, Warren cited the accused’s past failures to appear, a prison escape attempt, and criminal record. 

DPD Bowler, however, maintained these events took place a “very, very long time ago.” Now, DPD Warren said, the accused had a strong familial support system, referred to as her “team.”

“She rents an apartment and supports herself,” said DPD Bowler. “She has significant ties to the community.”

Further, Bowler explained the circumstances that befell the accused before the recent charges: she had been on mental health leave from work because her grandson had passed away.  

“(The accused) has work tomorrow,” said DPD Bowler, adding the accused “is no threat to the community,” and not a “flight risk.”

The accused, DPD Bowler said, earns about $700 a week from a job at a retail store. If not released on her own recognizance, DPD Bowler said, the accused could face the possibility of being fired. 

“I request (the court) set a bail that my client is able to pay,” said DPD Bowler, in the event that his request to release the accused on OR was denied.

Judge Bessey ultimately denied DPD Bowler’s request for OR for reasons similar to DDA Warren’s argument, and determined the bail would be set at $75,000. Judge Bessey called the accused’s criminal record “extensive.”

“I have concerns related to the charges of organized retail theft and controlled substances,” said Judge Bessey, who also cited probation’s scores for the accused as cause for concern. “She is a flight risk…she lives out of the area,” said the judge.

“I would assume (the accused) will lose (her) job,” said DPD Bowler, adding, in his experience, a bail that was payable without the need to go to a bondsman increased the likelihood of an accused person making an appearance at their court date, emphasizing the importance of a low bail—especially considering the accused might now lose work.

The next hearing for this case is set for May 6.

About The Author

Sarah graduated from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in English with a Technical and Professional Communication Certificate. In addition to being an author for the Vanguard Court Watch Program, she is a proofreader at CalMatters and works as a museum guide.

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