A state appeals court has denied a bid to reduce the $1-million bail of Hells Angels leader George Christie Jr., the third time the accused criminal gang leader has been rebuffed on a bail reduction motion.
Christie, 54, has been in jail since his March arrest stemming from charges that he ran a large ring that pushed drugs to high school students in Ojai and Ventura.
Prosecutors had argued that Christie's high bail was necessary because of the seriousness of the charges and his high-profile reputation as the leader of the Hells Angels.
"We're not at all surprised by the appellate court's ruling," Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeff Bennett said. "I think he's a danger to the community."
Although Christie could appeal to the state Supreme Court, his attorney, Anthony Brooklier, said this would be the last attempt to lower his client's bail.
"I'm disappointed," Brooklier said. But "this is a very independent court, and if they thought it was appropriate [to lower bail], they would do it."
In his filing with the 2nd District Court of Appeal, Brooklier said that the standard bail should be one-tenth the $1-million bail imposed on Christie. To post bail, Christie would pay a $100,000 bond fee and prove under court order that the money is coming from legitimate sources.
Despite rejecting Christie's request, the appeals court has taken action to reduce bails in two other local cases in the last eight months.
Last month, the appeals court ordered bail reduced for Christie's former wife, Cheryl, calling her $500,000 bond excessive. The justices found that she posed no threat to public safety and was not a flight risk. Her bail was eventually reduced to $100,000.
In December, the appeals court ruled that the $10-million bail of Mussel Shoals resident Andrew Luster, accused of drugging and raping several women, was excessive. His bail was later slashed to $1 million.
At this point, Brooklier said, George Christie has little choice but to raise the money for the bond fee. He acknowledged that it would likely be some time before Christie is out of jail.
"Given the situation, we're going to endeavor to put assets together," he said. "But we're not that close at this point."
Brooklier had argued that Christie has family in Ventura County and that he is a law-abiding man with support in the community.
Christie's $1-million bail was upheld by a lower court in March and in May. Brooklier had argued in the last hearing that his client's bail should be reduced so he could care for his 83-year-old mother, Georgia, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Christie has pleaded not guilty to 23 criminal charges in a broad racketeering and drug case that involved the sale of Vicodin and Valium--stolen from a Los Angeles Air Force clinic--to local high school students.
"The evidence is extremely weak," Brooklier said of the case. "We'll keep chugging forward."