STOCKTON – Could an arrest in San Joaquin County keep you in jail longer? A local attorney said he noticed for certain felonies, San Joaquin County set a higher bail schedule than other California counties.
Defense attorney Tai Bogan represents Jeremy Meeks, the man with the handsome mugshot that went viral. Meeks is now facing federal charges, but last week he was still sitting in San Joaquin County jail on $1 million bail.
“He was driving down the street, pulled over, there was a gun found in the trunk of his car,” said Bogan.
“Every jurisdiction has their own bail schedule. What I’ve found is that San Joaquin County’s bail schedule is higher than most other schedules around the state.”
Bogan is right for some felony charges. CBS13 compared the bail schedules from San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, Sacramento County, San Francisco County, and Los Angles County. The bail schedules are posted on the county superior courts’ individual websites.
The felony charge of participation in a street gang, bail is set at $25,000 in San Francisco County, $50,000 in Sacramento County, and $250,000 in San Joaquin County.
For possession of a concealed firearm, it is just $15,000 in Stanislaus County, $35,000 in Los Angeles County, $75,000 in San Francisco County, and $100,000 in San Joaquin County.
Bail enhancements vary per county as well.
San Joaquin County Superior Court spokesperson Stephanie Bohrer said the bail schedule is determined by a committee of judges, but the court said it would not comment on the bail schedule.
In Stanislaus County, court clerk Denise Curtis said two judges determine the bail schedule and it is reviewed by all of the county’s criminal court judges. Curtis said the bail schedule is reviewed yearly in Stanislaus County.
Another difference in the counties’ bail schedules is if there are multiple charges involved. In Sacramento and Stanislaus Counties, if there are four charges for one case, Sacramento and Stanislaus Counties would take the highest bail and set bail at that, but in San Joaquin County, all of the charge are added up in a process called “stacking.”
“The public in general would probably would say, ‘We don’t care. Keep those people in jail,” said Bogan. “The problem becomes the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution and the California Constitution provides that people should be able to have reasonable bail set if they’re accused of a crime.”
Bogan said high bail schedules affect poor and minority populations the most.
“A rich person and a poor person [can get arrested for] the same crime, but the rich person can bail out of jail, be out of custody while they fight their case,” said Bogan. “A poor person has to languish in jail during their case.”
Over the course of several days, CBS13 requested answers on the bail schedule from San Joaquin County Superior Court, but were told in an email that the court would not be commenting on the bail schedule.