Ducal Court to hold mock bail hearings for charity
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As defense attorneys and prosecutors scramble to develop alternatives to money bail for criminal defendants following a state appeals court decision, the local Ducal Court, a drag fundraising group, will hold mock bail hearings next weekend for 10 community members who will be "arrested."
Called "Ducal Jail for Bail," the purpose of the March 17 event is to raise funds for local nonprofits. Organized by the Grand Ducal Council of San Francisco, the council's Olivia Hart, also known as Franklin Geib, will host.
"We're setting up a table and blocking it off to call it a jail," Hart told the Bay Area Reporter. "The 'defendants' will be in an enclosed area of Jane Warner Plaza. The defendants will be asked to call friends, family, and co-workers so they can 'make bail' and be released."
Each person will have a set amount of bail money they need to raise.
"We will not be nasty if they don't make bail," Hart noted. "They will all be released."
The funds raised will benefit Larkin Street Youth Services, Castro Country Club, Raphael House, Pets Are Wonderful Support, and the Success Center.
Participating community members scheduled to take part include Katie Conry, Khalil Riley, Beth Bicoastal, Brian Basinger, Just Jeff, Terry Beswick, Shaun Haines, the Reverend Diana Wheeler, the Reverend Lyle Beckman, Grand Duke Madd-Dogg, and Grand Duchess Miss Shugana.
Collette Le Grande, aka Robert Hill, who served as Grand Duchess 17 and 33, is one of two celebrity judges. Landa Lakes, aka Jay Miko Thomas, who served as Grand Duchess 36, is the other celebrity judge.
Hart noted that Ducal Jail for Bail was in keeping with the charity court's mission statement of raising funds for worthy causes.
"For 45 years we've been raising money one dollar at a time," she said. "We mainly give to organizations not getting funding from the government. Cancer, AIDS, alcoholism, even the puppies, even animal shelters."
Hart said that she was not aware of the latest developments in the bail reform movement, which was reported in the B.A.R. and other outlets. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently decided his office would not appeal a court ruling that judges should consider defendants' ability to pay and alternatives to monetary bail. His decision was hailed by bail reform advocates.
Hart said that she got the idea for the mock bail fundraiser from the Leukemia Foundation.
"I was 'arrested' and called friends to raise bail - I raised around $300-$400, I can't recall the exact amount," Hart said.
Hart said she would look into the bail reform movement, adding that it sounds to her like a good thing. She pointed out that Ducal Jail for Bail was not meant to denigrate the bail reform movement.
"It's all in good fun," she said. "It's all to raise funds for the important causes of San Francisco. Perhaps next year I'll think about naming it differently."
Ducal Jail for Bail takes place March 17, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Jane Warner Plaza, at Market and Castro streets.