“It’s ridiculous. Common sense seems to have been tossed out the window.” – Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor
By Allen Payton
According to Brentwood Police Chief Tom Hansen, the man arrested with a billy club, machete and other knives Friday morning, after also being arrested for menacing a family twice – and once caught on security camera video holding the machete, last Saturday morning – was released from jail later in the day, Friday. (See related article)
“Yes, $0 bail as a result of the Judicial Council of California Emergency Bail Schedule,” he wrote in response to a question if the man, Adam Ortega, a 35-year-old resident of Brentwood, was released.
He was arrested with the machete, knives and billy club Friday morning and taken to county jail. (See related article).
However, those items were not returned to Ortega, Hansen shared.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Mayor Bob Taylor in frustration after learning the news. “It’s absurd. Safety is no longer a factor. Common sense seems to have been tossed out the door. I guess you have to kill somebody, first.”
At its meeting on Monday, April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California approved 11 temporary emergency rules, including setting bail statewide at $0 for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies to “safely reduce jail populations” and staying eviction and foreclosure proceedings to protect Californians from losing their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. (See related article).
“First of all, and we have given these instructions to all the law enforcement officers….we still have the same system available to us,” Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said when asked about the case. “Law enforcement officers can, if the person is a danger to the community, there is a declaration that can be filled out, I’m not saying it will be approved, for the court to decide to set bail.”
“The agency has to bring the case into our office for us to review it and decide what to charge him with,” she explained. “I don’t know what stage this case is in if it hasn’t been walked into us, and we have a chance for a filing deputy to review it.”
“Even though the photos are pretty frightening, if he’s still being charged with the same vandalism misdemeanor, then he will be released on no bail,” Becton added. “At this point we have to wait to evaluate the case once it is brought into our office. The bail issue is a bit more nuanced.”
Asked if the case had been submitted to the District Attorney’s office, yet, Chief Hansen responded, “We have not submitted them, yet. Hopefully, next week.”
There is a process the police have to go through including reports, evidence, approvals, records processing, records data entry and appointments, he shared. Until that’s completed and the DA’s office decides what to charge him with and until the court decides bail can be set in Ortega’s case, he will remain free.
Please check back later for any updates to this report.