SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A suspect in a 2017 robbery, whose case inspired a landmark state appeals court ruling challenging the state’s bail system earlier this year, was released from a San Francisco jail Wednesday after spending nearly a year in custody.
Last Thursday, superior court Judge Brendan Conroy agreed to release Kenneth Humphrey, 64, ahead of his trial to a Mission District residential recovery facility for seniors.
Wednesday morning, Humphrey’s attorney Deputy Public Defender Anita Nabha said that it took about six days to release him because, first he had to be interviewed by sheriff’s officials and then he had to be explained the rules of wearing an ankle monitor, which is one of the conditions of his release.
On Tuesday, Nabha said she learned that Humphrey would be released and went to speak with him.
“He’s doing well,” she said. “He certainly is looking forward to being out of custody and he’s very grateful that he had a full and fair bail hearing and that the court found that it was appropriate to release him with these conditions,” Nabha said.
In addition to wearing an ankle monitor, Humphrey will also be put on house arrest, meaning he can’t leave the treatment facility, and will be subject to searches. He also has to stay away from the victim in the case and the Turk Street residential senior facility where the alleged crime occurred.
Humphrey, a retired shipyard laborer, is accused of entering his 79-year-old neighbor’s apartment, threatening him, and then stealing $5 and a bottle of cologne. He was initially booked into jail on May 24, 2017 and subsequently charged with robbery, burglary, elder abuse and theft.
After his arrest, Humphrey’s bail was initially set at $600,000 based on the state’s bail schedule, but a judge eventually lowered it to $350,000 after the San Francisco public defender’s office argued that the initial amount was excessive and that Humphrey did not pose a risk to the public.
In January, after reviewing Humphrey’s case, the state’s 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that a judge must consider the defendant’s ability to pay when setting bail. Setting bail higher than a person can afford effectively jails the defendant for being poor, the ruling concluded.
In the months after the ruling, however, Humphrey remained jailed.
During his bail hearing last week, prosecutors sought to keep him in custody, citing previous robbery convictions going back to the 1980s, which they said showed that Humphrey was a threat to public safety and had a pattern of preying on vulnerable victims such as women and the elderly.
A jury trial date may be scheduled during a court hearing set for Monday. Humphrey is not expected to be present.
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