Apparently, according to Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong, lowering bail for accused criminals is perfectly in line with the law if their victims is alleged to be a vexatious litigant. Maybe that is a little too simplistic, but it seems to be what has happened in the case of People v. Kip Macy and Nicole Macy.
Who are Kip and Nicole Macy? They are the two landlords which have been charged with a host of crimes arising from their ownership of 744 - 746 Clementina St., San Francisco. The short list is this: removing support joists from their tenant's floor when he dared to exercise his rights to contest his eviction, breaking into their apartments and stealing from them, calling 911 to have the police arrest a tenant whom they claimed was a "vagrant" squatting in the building, and trying to convince a city inspector to red tag their building to get rid of their tenants.
But apparently, at a second bail hearing for both Mr. and Mrs. Macy, Judge Wong lowered the bail. Attorneys for the couple, Lisa Dewberry and Michael Whelan, have apparently decided to make the victims in this case appear as the criminals. Dewberry started this a month ago as I noted here. The attorneys argued that the clients have strong ties to the community, no prior criminal history, and that one of the victims was a vexatious litigant who was turning the building into his own personal cash cow by filing suits against the owners.
Whelan, in court on Friday, apparently claimed that the tenant in question, Mr. Scott Morrow, had a "documented litigious nature"who saw the building "essentially as a cash cow to support him" and had "made $140,000 in litigation connected to this case."
Let's see. Landlord wrongs tenant by unlawfully attempting to evict him. Forces him to fight in court in order to preserve the only home he has. After successfully defending his rights, it appears that Judge Wong believes that the tenant should just let by-gones be by-gones and not try to recover for the loss which they have suffered.
And then, when the new landlords took over and performed a bogus Ellis Act, apparently Mr. Morrow was also supposed to just let things go and not try to defend his home. Or to seek to punish, through the courts the people who were committing the wrongdoing.
What I want to know is why the prosecutors did not lay out exactly the history of the litigation instead of allowing Judge Wong to just lower the bail on the theory that one of the victims may be a vexatious litigant. According to the account I am reading, all he did was focus on the fact that there were only four cases filed, as opposed to the number of meritless cases filed against Mr. Morrow.
Of course, there is a hostility in the judiciary right now against tenants. Witness the Action Apartments case and the 1100 Park Lane decisions which have come down in the last 12 months. Apparently Judge Wong decided to read into Penal Code 1272.1 that the criteria for bail must also include how well a defense attorney can attack the character of one of the victims.