Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was denied bail during a Monday arraignment with the key argument being that the “risk is too great” by the presiding judge.
While appearing before Judge Shelyna Brown at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose, CA, Velasquez was denied bail and was deemed “too great a risk” to consider release after nearly an hour of argument from both sides.
“This case involves allegations of extreme recklessness to human life,” Judge Brown said, concluding a statement that can be read here. “Ramming a vehicle in the middle of the day where our citizens are out driving, going about their business, and shooting out of a car at other individuals, which is reckless by any standard. Anyone could’ve been injured. Anyone could’ve been killed. When this court looks at Article 1, Section 12, it is this level of risk that the court must take into consideration. With that said, this court is making a ruling that the risk is too great. There will be no bail set at this time.”
“That Is Not My Job”
Representing Velasquez is Mark Geragos, a criminal defense lawyer who has represented celebrity clients including Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Chris Brown, and Colin Kaepernick. During the arraignment, Geragos made mention of the accusations against Goularte, the alleged target of the shooting, but Judge Brown quickly dismissed the comments as irrelevant to the accusations levied against Velasquez
“Mr. Geragos, this court is not juxtaposing one case against another,” Brown said. “That is not my job. My job is to deal with the case that is before the court. The Velasquez case is before this court. … This court is not at liberty to look at other cases in the media or the case of Goularte.”
Geragos voiced his disapproval with the criminal justice system in a statement following the ruling. “Is there anybody out there who finds it to be beyond the pale that a father was not consulted when they released the perpetrator back into the public with zero-dollar bail, yet they are holding Cain on no bail?” Geragos asked. “This is why people are disgusted – and rightfully so – with the criminal justice system.”
The Story So Far
Velasquez, 39, was arrested on Monday, Feb. 28 after allegedly shooting at 43-year-old Harry Goularte who is accused of molesting a family member of Velasquez possibly “100 times” as previous reports have stated. Goularte was release and was being picked up by his stepfather with one other individual when Velasquez allegedly began to chase them in his vehicle.
It’s reported that the pursuit lasted nearly 11 miles and ended with Velasquez firing shots at the vehicle before ramming it with his own, then proceeded to fire additional shots, one hitting Goularte’s stepfather who was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A video appears to show part of the chase that occurred between Velasquez and the vehicle carrying Goularte.
Velasquez has seen a flood of support from MMA fighters and the general public as the potential motive became public knowledge. Former rival Junior dos Santos and UFC President Dana White have spoken favorably about Velasquez with many others calling to “Free Cain.”
Former UFC referee and commentator for Bellator ‘Big’ John McCarthy expressed his displeasure that the “risk is too great” to release Velasquez, but the county released Goularte without hesitation.
Velasquez was charged with ten total counts, the most serious being the attempted murder charge which carries a sentence of 20 years to life if convicted.
“The Risk Is Too Great”
Judge Brown’s full statement has been provided below:
“This court has had an opportunity to review the 37 letters that were sent this morning, many of them from lawyers and other professional and court figures and prominent figures in the community. I have reviewed the Statement of Facts. I’ve reviewed the articles that were presented here in court. The court acknowledges that the courtroom is full of supporters for Mr. Velasquez. It looks like (Microsoft) Teams, the virtual platform is filled with reporters. The court says all of these things to say that what is important in this court is the law. I’m going to apply the law to the facts as I understand them to be.
I believe that the court has to review Article 1, Section 12 of the California prosecution, which talks about acts involving violence upon another person. The facts are clear here that this was an alleged act of violence, according to laws – following an individual, chasing an individual for some miles, ramming individuals with his vehicle, and shooting at the individuals at point-blank range. The court, reviewing those facts, understands the surrounding circumstances. It is clear to this court that there is clear and convincing evidence that there is a substantial likelihood that would result in great bodily injury, not just to the named complaint witnesses in this case, but to Santa Clara residents at large.
This case involves allegations of extreme recklessness to human life, ramming a vehicle in the middle of the day where our citizens are out driving, going about their business, and shooting out of a car at other individuals, which is reckless by any standard. Anyone could’ve been injured. Anyone could’ve been killed. When this court looks at Article 1, Section 12, it is this level of risk that the court must take into consideration. With that said, this court is making a ruling that the risk is too great. There will be no bail set at this time.”
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images