With his true identity still in dispute, a man accused of impersonating an attorney and stealing thousands of dollars from duped clients was jailed again Monday after a Harbor Municipal Court judge raised his bail.
Judge Susanne S. Shaw raised the bail from $20,000 to $100,000 after noting the various aliases the defendant has allegedly used over the past 31 years. Shaw advised the defendant's attorney to bring his birth certificate to court.
"I'll reduce his bail as soon as we match his little footprints with his big footprints," Shaw said, after ordering a bailiff to place the defendant in handcuffs. " . . . I just want to make sure that he is who he (says) he is. There are a lot of people who have believed in this person--and they're not slouches."
The defendant, charged originally as John Doe because of uncertainty over his real name, told Shaw on Monday that his name is Christopher Kennedy. Asked why he has been known to the state prison system during previous incarcerations as Jeffery Biddle Smith, the defendant said that Smith was his stepfather's surname.
Shaw, however, expressed skepticism. The Times reported on July 2 that one of the names the defendant has used is J. Christopher Kennedy, the same name as an attorney licensed by the State Bar of California and whose firm has offices in Newport Beach and Los Angeles.
"Until we get him identified, I'm not going to give him the opportunity to keep going out there" Shaw said.
Invoking a provision of the state Penal Code that is more typically used in drug-related cases, Shaw also ordered that any money the defendant raises toward satisfying his bail will be checked to ensure that it comes "from a proper source."
The judge said her intention is to prevent the defendant from using money he has allegedly obtained from those who thought he was an attorney.
The defendant had been free on $20,000 bail. Shaw raised the bail to $100,000 after Deputy. Dist. Atty. Connie Johnson noted that her office had received a number of phone calls from others who claimed to have been victimized.
Johnson told Shaw that, when Harbor Municipal Judge Calvin Schmidt first set the bail at $20,000 last May, Schmidt did not have a copy of the defendant's prior arrests and convictions.
Shaw postponed the defendant's arraignment until next Monday.