Archive for the ‘Sonoma’ Category

  • Reefer Badass

    Bohemian

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  • New county bail policy could get costly

    The Press Democrate

    A new approach to bail in Sonoma County Superior Court could soon raise the price of freedom. Judges will start observing strict time limits on how long bail remains in place, requiring new bail to be posted if prosecutors do not bring charges within 15 days of a first court appearance. Those who can’t afford to pay a second time will likely be forced to await a decision from behind bars, straining jail resources and driving up costs for taxpayers.

    “It’s a de facto doubling of the bail schedule,” said Sebastopol defense attorney Omar Figueroa, who was among a group of lawyers who voiced concerns this week at a Sonoma County Bar Association meeting. The change was announced by Judge Shelly Averill, who will be presiding over a special early case resolution court in January. Now, judges allow defendants to post bail just once while prosecutors and police sort out any charges during post- arrest investigations. Such investigations for crimes ranging from drug possession to manslaughter can take months. But that practice does not meet the requirements of the law, Averill said. Bonds guaranteeing a person will return to court are exonerated — or expire — automatically if prosecutors haven’t acted within the two-week period, she said. Beyond that time, bail companies can no longer be held liable if the person becomes a fugitive. Judges realized the lapse and will now correct it, she said. New bail will be required to avoid jail if formal charges are filed later, she said.

    “It’s something we’ve not been doing,” she told lawyers at the bar association meeting. It was not immediately known how many people were awaiting charges on expired bail. The shift could be a boon to the bail company owners, who collect a nonrefundable 10 percent fee for each bond they post. But they worried it could also hurt the industry if bail is perceived as unaffordable. “It could make the process of bail so that it’s no longer relied upon,” said Dale Miller, owner of Santa Rosa-based Romelli Bail Bonds. However, Miller said there are ongoing discussions about making second bails less expensive.

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  • Don’t Call It ‘Pot’ in This Circle; It’s a Profession

    The New York Times

    As more and more states allow medical use of the drug, and California considers outright legalization, marijuana’s supporters are pushing hard to burnish the image of pot by franchising dispensaries and building brands; establishing consulting, lobbying and law firms; setting up trade shows and a seminar circuit; and constructing a range of other marijuana-related businesses.

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