Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez was arrested about 6 days ago after authorities suspected he was taking bribes in exchange for lowering peoples property taxes. In total he was alleged to have cost the County of Los Angeles $1.16 million in lost property taxes based upon his actions.
Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba would not reduce Noquez’ bail when requested by his attorney. Typically base is set by “schedule” here in California. For every crime there is a corresponding bail amount. In certain cases like theft or fraud the bail schedule provides for setting bail at the same amount as was alleged to have been taken by the defendant in the case.
Here, because Noquez was alleged to have cost the County $1.16 million, it stands to reason that his bail would be set at that amount. His attorney argued for substantially less bail and this request was denied. It seems to me that there were co-conspirators arrested in this case. Thus, I might have considered making an argument for a bail amount that would represent a pro-rata apportionment of the loss amount. This is to say that if there were two co-defendants maybe bail should be set at $553,000 for each defendant.
Next is the problem of the possible hold on the bail under penal code section 1275. This code allows the District Attorney or the Judge to require the defendant prove up the lawful proceeds of the bail money before the Sheriff will accept the bail and release the defendant. In years past the 1275 hold was common in large drug cases. In recent years it has also been applied in large theft and fraud cases.
Mr. Noquez’ request to reduce bail was denied, so he must either post bail in the amount set or request yet another hearing to address the bail issue. Judges are hesitant to reduce bail after a hearing unless there has been some change in circumstances which was not present at the time of the prior hearing. This means the assessor may have to plan on spending several weeks if not months in County jail.
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