Most of the time, the orders coming from certain judicial divas seem slightly, if not overtly, ridiculous and unnecessary. Like, I’m pretty sure Eric Holder knows that he is supposed to respect the Constitution. And sometimes when people sneeze in court, it’s just allergies, not disrespect.

But occasionally, judicial homework assignments seem to make more than a little bit of sense. Take this recent ruling regarding a defendant from Richmond, California. For a 23-year-old accused of trying to sell a grenade launcher to undercover ATF agents in a deal that went wrong and led to a bunch of shooting, the condition of his bond release is quite simple.

In the words of LeVar Burton: take a look, it’s in a book…

The San Francisco Chronicle has the story of Otis Mobley Jr. A judge ordered him released Monday on $150,000 bond, subject to two conditions: that he wear a GPS ankle bracelet, and that he read on a daily basis and compose book reports. Seriously:

One of three men indicted for allegedly trying to sell a grenade launcher during a deal that led to gunfire in Richmond was ordered released on bond Monday by a federal judge, who allowed him to remain free so long as he reads each day and completes book reports.

Over the objections of federal prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted a request by 23-year-old Otis Mobley Jr. to be released before trial. She ordered him to “read and complete book reports,” spending an hour every day on books and at least a half an hour writing.

I don’t want to sound condescending, because illiteracy is still a serious problem in many inner-city areas (aka most of Richmond, California, which for those of you who don’t know, one might call the Gary or Newark of the Bay Area). Judge Rogers’s ruling here is, in a way, sort of awesome. Despite serious allegations of the defendant’s dangerous past, as well as his alleged flight risk, it sounds like she’s making a serious effort to help him, instead of just letting him rot behind bars. (It’s worth mentioning that Mobley has a 4-year-old son.)

The Reading Rainbow angle is quite interesting, but the facts surrounding the case are newsworthy in and of themselves. We’re talking about allegations of a fake offer to sell a grenade launcher that was really an excuse to commit robbery. Unfortunately for Mobley and his crew, the intended victims turned out to be undercover ATF agents:

Mobley, his cousin Khusar Mobley, 18, and Dmarce Hutcherson, 19, were indicted last month in U.S. District Court in Oakland for alleged conspiracy to commit robbery, assault on a federal officer, robbery and a weapons violation stemming from a March 28 incident in the parking lot of a Chevy’s restaurant on Garrity Way in Richmond.

The three men had allegedly arranged to sell a grenade launcher for $1,000 to an undercover agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The supposed sale was really a ruse for robbery, authorities said.

Khusar Mobley and Hutcherson pointed loaded guns at the agent in his car and “demanded that he empty his pockets,” the indictment said, citing audio and video recorders in the vehicle that captured the episode.

Backup ATF agents rushed in and shot and wounded Hutcherson as he was getting out of the car. Khusar Mobley was arrested at the scene, and Otis Mobley ran into a field and was taken into custody, police said.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I still can’t believe this kind of s**t actually happens. For a minute I thought I was just reading a scene from a script of The Town.

Either way, hopefully Judge Rogers’s ruling will help Mobley increase his mind while his legal case is pending. Who’s got some literature suggestions for his reading list? Let us know in the comments!

Reading a condition of Richmond defendant’s release [San Francisco Chronuicle]


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