of people in the San Diego Jail have not been convicted of a crime, and are being held only because of the current bail system.*
*based on most recent data available from the CA Board of State and Community Corrections daily average prison populations in county jails.
Many times we are looked at as being bad parents. Poverty, disabilities, mental health, addiction, and trauma seem to be secondary or not even unacknowledged.
A Day In San Diego Court
My first time involved in the court system was shocking to say the least. I thought my son would be able to come home as we defended his freedom. My son’s bail was $100,000 and coming up with 5-10% of this was not realistic. He languished in jail because we are poor.
This was one of the loneliest times in my life. I remember attending his court hearings and it was very cold, the frigid feeling was the temperature and the energy. At first, I was able to see him when he attended court even though he was located in a room. There was a window and even under the hardest circumstances in his life it made me feel better seeing him and knowing he was ok. I remember feeling helpless and hopeless. None of the parties speaking for or against my son knew him, I tried hard and it was so hard trying to catch up with the Public Defender. When I finally got him I didn’t know the right questions to ask. He made it clear that my son would be going to prison. I wanted them to understand who my son was. My second paid attorney was fired by the judge for speaking loudly in the hall about my son’s case. The judge heard her in the hallway even though he was sitting on the bench. I have never felt so alone in my life.
This is what brought me into being an advocate for families going through court cases. I make sure I attend any of their court hearings, especially mothers. Many times we are looked at as being bad parents. Poverty, disabilities, mental health, addiction, and trauma seem to be secondary or not even unacknowledged.
We must tell our own story.
San Diego has a new courthouse. It is massive and even intimidating than the old courthouse. This new courthouse has twenty-two floors. The old courthouse had five floors. Even with the brick and shiny cement and marble it still gives you the feeling of desolation and isolation. Even with hundreds of people in line waiting to go through the metal detectors, you are still alone. Everyone is afraid and uncertain. Even the attorneys seem lost.
The bail hearings are heard on the first floor in room 102. There is no longer a schedule of cases taped to the door. There is now a computer system that displays names on the wall and looks similar to when you are checking on your flight status.
In order to find bail hearings, we have created a system with the San Diego Participatory Defense. San Diego offers a five-day court calendar for the cases that will be seen. On the court calendar, there were two review hearings. One was for Clayton White Jr. a 59-year old Black male who was arrested on 2/18/2018. His charges were possession of a controlled substance. He also had a 3455(A) PC which seems he is currently on community post-release. During court, he was unable to have a bail review because probation did not submit his report. Another gentleman Cornell Allen was denied a bail reduction due to being a safety risk. He had an elder abuse charge amongst other violent charges. His bail remained at $300,000.
We also have a new case, Ezyquil who is a 35-year old schizophrenic man currently incarcerated for theft. He case seems similar to Humphries. His bail is $12,000 and he has not had a Humphries hearing to determine his ability to pay. Our hub spoke with his attorney and is assisting mom in getting all of the items she needs for conservatorship. Our hub has been working with Ezyquil’s criminal and civil attorney. When speaking with his criminal attorney we bail schedule. This directly conflicts ability to pay must also be Humphrey’s the with were advised that he was not going to include a bail motion because his case was based on the case which stated that the client’s factored into his bail decision. An email with the Humphrey court decision and this language was emailed to Mr. Pedroza’s attorney.
San Diego Union-Tribune: "Man dies at Vista jail after being pepper sprayed. Sheriff investigating death as a drug overdose
ABC Channel 10: "Undocumented immigrant detained by bail bondsman on livestream"
NBC Channel 7: "Alternative Bail system tested in San Diego County"