On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Warrant No. 2010-2437-1214.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 8, 2012
Before Judges Fuentes and Harris.
On leave granted, we review pro se defendant Cecilio Davila's interlocutory application for a bail reduction. Based upon our analysis of the record, we conclude that the amount and conditions thereto of the bail imposed by the Law Division are
(1) not violative of Davila's constitutional rights, (2) not the product of an abuse of discretion, and (3) not contrary to the legislative framework, supplemented by judicial guidelines, that informs the setting of bail. We affirm.
In October 2010, Davila was arrested and charged with several drug and possession-of-a-weapon charges. Bail was initially set at $150,000 but was soon adjusted to $200,000. After agreeing to pay a bail bond premium of $20,000, Davila obtained a surety through Absolute Bail Bonds, Inc., and posted a bail bond for the $200,000.
Davila was alleged to have been twice previously convicted of violating N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, and his criminal history revealed multiple arrests and convictions. Accordingly, the prosecutor moved to modify the bail to require full cash bail to be posted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:162-12. On December 10, 2010, the Law Division modified the bail to require a full cash bail.
Davila filed motions for leave to appeal and for elimination of the full cash bail condition. On February 24, 2011,*fn1 we granted leave to appeal and remanded the matter for a prompt statement of "findings and reasons in support of setting bail without a 10% cash option."
On February 25, 2011, apparently independent of our ruling on the motion, the prosecutor applied to the Law Division to again modify Davila's bail -- this time to lower the amount -- because the State was in possession of laboratory results suggesting that the quantity of the controlled dangerous substances collected presented only potential third-degree -- not second-degree as originally believed -- crimes. On March 4, 2011, bail was reduced to $35,000, but the record is unclear whether that amount was permitted to be posted by bond or was still required to be all-cash.
Four days later, the prosecutor filed a formal motion, seeking again to modify the terms of bail and this time requesting an increase in the amount. The basis of this application was the State's recent revelation that Davila would likely be indicted shortly for multiple second-degree crimes.*fn2
A hearing was conducted on March 11, 2011 before a different Law Division judge than the one who had set the $200,000 bail in December. Davila, while eligible to have counsel appointed to him, represented himself pro se because the assignment of counsel had not yet administratively occurred.
The parties were aware of our February 24, 2011 order, but apparently treated it as moot because in the interim the bail had already ...