REVISITING THAT MILLION $ BAIL FOR THE SUPERGRAPHIC OUTLAW
If you’ll remember, last month, I objected mightily to the one million in bail that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich requested and got for supergraphic super-scofflaw, Kayvan Setareh, but then I began to wonder if the matter wasn’t a bit more complicated than I’d hastily portrayed.
Neon Tommy reporter Chris Pisar looked more deeply into the issue and came up with a well-balanced report that informs you—then allows you to make up your own mind.
Here’s a clip from the heart of the story:
…That leads us to the real question at hand: does the $1 million dollar bail set by Judge Escobedo fit the crime and circumstances or is it excessive?
When asked if the bail fir the crime, Laurie Levenson, law professor at Loyola Law School, had this to say:
“Of course no, that bail is high even for murder,” said Levenson. “That was off the charts.”
But how exactly does a judge determine what the bail amount should be?
The state starts with a bail schedule that outlines what the bail amount should be for a particular crime, said Patricia Kelly of Los Angeles County Superior Court Media Relations. There is also a committee that makes a recommendation to the district attorney or whoever the prosecutor is.
The key is that it’s only a recommendation, not a cut-and-dried figure.
In order to better understand the open interpretation of bail amounts, we first need to take a look at California Penal Code 1275(a), which outlines four main criteria for setting, reducing, or denying bail: the protection of the public, the seriousness of the offense charged, the previous criminal record of the defendant, and the probability of his or her appearing at trial or hearing of the case, with public safety being the top concern.
Seeing as how Setareh was booked on three misdemeanor counts all but rules out the probability of his bail being set so high due to the “seriousness of the crime.”
The same goes for Setareh’s potential as a flight risk. As a prominent businessman facing only a few misdemeanor charges, the risk does not outweigh the reward.
So what about Setareh’s criminal history?
Setareh has been arrested four different times in the last 15 years, including his most recent arrest on February 26, but has only been convicted of one count, according to Los Angeles Superior Court documents.
That was a misdemeanor conviction back in July of 2002, in which Setareh was arrested for failure to comply with city regulation on graphic ads. He was charged with two similar counts in December of last year but the charges were dismissed.
While he does have a criminal history, it is hardly enough to warrant such a lofty bail.
That leaves us with the issue of public safety….
And public safety is a crucial point. Read on.
JUSTICE 4 JUSTICE
I’ll have a follow-up to this story next week, but in the meantime, Neon Tommy’s Kevin Grant has this very good report on the anger, confusion and upset that was felt by students at the under-enrolled Green Dot charter, Animo Justice, after they learned that their school was being shut down.
(LAT Howard Bloom’s back story on the issue is here.)
Here’s a clip from Kevin’s story:
Marlon Silva, a junior at Animo Justice Charter High School, learned suddenly last week that he will not be able to get his diploma there.
Green Dot Public Schools, which opened the south Los Angeles charter school less than four years ago, will close Animo Justice in June.
Silva told a fledgling coalition of 70 parents, students, teachers and activists Friday evening that he believes Green Dot, a company that has been praised often by national media for its role in reshaping L.A.’s public schools, is putting profit motive over the needs of Animo Justice’s students…
Next week, I’ll have Green Dot’s views of the shutdown, including what the charter powerhouse wishes now, with hindsight, it’d done differently.
Preliminary conclusions?…School reform in LA ain’t an easy matter.
ALSO ON NEON TOMMY…..
A MOM MEETS HER BABY’S LIVER DONOR ….
Holly Butcher reports on what it’s like to meet the woman who donated part of a liver to save your baby’s life. (You want a story that’ll cheer you up in what often seems like a selfish world? Read this one.)
…..AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS TRY TO CALM IMMIGRANT FEARS ABOUT CENSUS INFO BEING ACCESSED UNDER THE PATRIOT ACT
Neon Tommy’s Madeleine Scinto explains the fears of immigrant groups—in this case, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Latinos—about census information being used against them, and civil rights activists attempt to calm those fears.
(And, yes, all of the above are my students. They’re smart and talented. What can I tell you? I had nothing to do with it.)
AND IN THE NON-NEON TOMMY WORLD….:
ONE MORE STORY ON HAWAII’S “HOPE” PAROLE PROGRAM
I’ve posted about this program before, but one more time with feeling:
The Boston Globe has a story about Hawaii Judge Steven Alm and his highly successful probation program in which if parolees violate the terms of their parole the sanction is swift and sure—but much less harsh than the parole revocations in California. It’s cheaper. And, if the stats are any measure, it works.
Nevada and Oregon are looking into trying their own version of HOPE.
Yooooo-hooooooo….!!!! O-o-o-ooooh, California legislature…! Are you listening?????
This is one of the best stories on Judge Alm’s HOPE yet. Read it and be cheered. Sane programs are better.
STUDENTS AT LOCKE HIGH SCHOOL WRITE ELOQUENTLY OF HOW THEY’RE TIRED OF BEING STEREOTYPED
At LA Youth, students in Jerica Coffey’s English classes at Locke High School in Watts write about the assumptions they feel are made about them because of where they live—and how they don’t fit those assumptions.
Read them. You’ll be glad you did.