My client was recently charged with violating the following counts: Count 1 - Penal Code section 245(b) (Assault with a Semiautomatic Firearm); Count 2 - Penal Code section 245(b) (Assault with a Semiautomatic Firearm); Count 3 - Penal Code section 245(a)(4)(Assault with Force Likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury); Counts 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48 - Penal Code section 30605(a)(Possession of Assault Weapon); Counts 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47, 49, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65; Counts 50 & 51 - Penal Code section 30600(a)(Transport of Assault Weapon); Counts 52 & 53 - Penal Code section 33215 (Possession of Illegal Weapon – Short Barrel Rifle/Shotgun); and Counts 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64 - Penal Code section 32625(a)(Possession of Machineguns).
At his arraignment while he was represented by another law firm, my client’s bail was set at $2,190,000. Given my client’s financial circumstances, he was unable to pay bail at this set amount. After substituting in as the attorney of record in the matter, I researched the current state of law as to bail and determined that my client had a strong argument that bail should be significantly reduced.
I conducted extensive research into my client’s financials and wrote a motion to set bail pursuant to the recent opinion of In Re Humphrey 2018 S.O.S. 464. According to this case, a trial court must inquire into and make findings regarding a defendant’s ability to pay bail and less restrictive alternatives to money bail.
We determined that Local Rule 8.3(a) and the County of Los Angeles Felony Bail Schedule outlined the correct procedure for computing bail and that procedure was not followed in this matter. We began the motion by arguing that the “Felony Bail Computation Worksheet” submitted in this matter, computing bail at $2,190,000.00, was incorrect and the Felony Bail Schedule adopted in Los Angeles County computed the correct bail at $230,000.00. We requested that bail be set at this correct amount.
We further outlined the defendant’s specific financial resources (loss of income, student loan debt, mortgage principal owed versus current estimated home value, vehicle value, credit card debt, savings account balance, etc.) and argued that the client is unable to pay the bail as currently set.
We argued that according to the In re Humphrey
opinion, a court may not order pretrial detention unless it
(1) the defendant has the financial ability
but failed to pay the amount of bail the court finds reasonably necessary to ensure his or her appearance at future court proceedings,
(2) the defendant is unable to pay that amount and no less restrictive conditions of release would be sufficient to reasonably assure such appearance, or
(3) that no less restrictive nonfinancial conditions of release would be sufficient to protect the victim and community.
We requested the court consider our client’s individualized circumstances, especially the fact that he will likely lose his home and be unable to financially support his son if held in pretrial detention, when re-evaluating the bail previously set.
At the hearing on the motion, the prosecution acknowledged that the bail computation was incorrect but argued that bail should remain at the set amount to protect the safety of the community.
I argued that my client was not a danger to the community and that the bail schedule itself already calculated an amount necessary to protect the public and ensure my client’s presence at future court hearings.
The court took our motion and oral argument under consideration and reduced bail to the amount we requested in the motion, $230,000.00. The court also imposed a requirement that our client reside in residential treatment throughout the proceedings in the matter.
This is a great victory! Our client will now be able to post the set bail and remain out of custody during the pre-trial proceedings in the matter. This will allow our client to seek residential treatment and argue for a probationary sentence in the matter.
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