A motion for a new trial was denied on April 12 in the case of a bail bondsman accepting sexual acts for half of a bail bond.
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Attorney Daniel Karalash filed a motion for a new trial on behalf of his client, bail bondsman Kenneth Waters, on five grounds that the original trial should be thrown out. Among them were allegations of misconduct by the prosecution in opening and closing statements and that the victim, known anonymously as Jane Doe, should not have testified anonymously.
Going over the five reasons, Judge Daniel B. Proud ultimately denied the motion, saying that none of the five reasons had been a violation or would have swayed the jury to another verdict. He noted there was no evidence of the loss of rights to Waters.
With the motion denied, the hearing became a judgment and sentencing hearing based on the trial that concluded in January. Before the sentence was given, Karalash noted that he would be filing an appeal and that paperwork was ready.
Deputy district attorney Trish Kelliher said she agreed with the Probation Department’s recommendation of three years probation, as well as all of the terms with it. She did not agree, however, with the 60-day jail sentence, believing it to be too low. She noted that she had offered the defendant 120 days as a plea bargain and said that post-trial should be 150 days.
“The bottom line is that 60 days are not sufficient to impress that this type of activity is acceptable,” Kelliher told the court.
During his rebuttal, Karalash noted that 120 days to three years was offered when a felony was still being charged and called it “interesting” that Jane Doe was not being charged in any form for prostitution. He said it was “disingenuous on the part of the government” to not do so. In the phone calls played for the court, he said, he heard a prostitute trying to get a lower bail. He also noted that testifying anonymously works for rape cases, but he was not so sure in this type of case. He asked instead for no jail time, with a fine only, and a stay of the imposition as he was filing an appeal and to have Waters released on his own recognizance.
Kelliher noted the 120 days was offered after the felony had been dismissed and that it was “time for Mr. Waters to have consequences” for his actions.
The judge voiced his concerns, saying that he looked at the case differently due to Waters’ position as a bail bondsman. Doe “sought your (services) because she was scared and needed to get out of jail,” he told Waters. That put him in a position of trust, and that he was to be held to a higher standard.
Although a prior crime was alluded to, Proud said it had no bearing on his ruling. Doe not being charged was also not a factor.
Karalash also commented that a longer sentence may not be good for Waters’ health, as he has high blood pressure and is overweight, he said. He also said that in a normal prostitution case, the first violation would be a fine and the second violation would be 10-15 days in jail.
Proud ruled that Waters would spend 120 days in county jail, with half the time suspended pending positive completion of his probation. He is to be placed on three years formal probation and not to be a practicing bail bondsman in the county during that time. His licensing company could decide whether he could practice outside the county. “To be quite candid,” Proud said, “I believe he has learned his lesson.” Restitution and fines and fees were also added, and Waters was ordered against contacting Doe.
The sentence was suspended 60 days, however, to allow Karalash to file his appeal. A hearing regarding the status of the appeal was set for June 21 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 2.