LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A judge Thursday reduced bail from nearly $2.2 million to $150,000 for a La Crescenta man charged with stalking actress Sandra Bullock and breaking into her West Los Angeles residence while she was home in June 2014.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edmund W. Clarke Jr. ordered Joshua James Corbett, 41, to wear a GPS monitoring device and to “confine himself” to a treatment facility in Tarzana, where he is expected to be taken if the lowered bail amount is posted on his behalf.
Corbett is also barred from any contact with the Oscar-winning actress and must stay 200 yards away from her under a protective order that was issued after his arrest.
The bail reduction came less than a month after a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected a challenge by prosecutors of Clarke’s decision to suppress evidence about high-powered weapons seized from Corbett’s home two days after his arrest because Los Angeles police detectives had not obtained a warrant to search his residence.
“Removing from the affidavit the information that the police obtained improperly during the initial search, the warrant application does not contain facts sufficient to establish independent probable cause to search Corbett’s home,” the appellate court panel found in its Feb. 14 ruling, which resulted in the defense’s request for Corbett’s bail to be lowered.
The District Attorney’s Office has yet to decide whether to ask a higher court to consider the matter.
Without a higher court intervening, the judge’s decision to suppress the evidence on the weapons charges is expected to result in the dismissal of two- dozen counts. The only remaining counts against Corbett would be one count each of stalking and first-degree burglary involving the alleged June 8, 2014, break- in at Bullock’s home.
Criminal proceedings in Corbett’s case were suspended in January after one of his attorneys declared doubt about the defendant’s mental competence.
One of his lawyers, Steve Sitkoff, told the judge that Corbett has been accepted into an “inpatient psychiatric unit” at the Tarzana facility, where his client is going to “get help.”
Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall objected to lowering Corbett’s bail to $150,000, saying that the facility where he is expected to be treated is “not that far from where Ms. Bullock lives.”
But the judge said he did not believe that he could place conditions on Corbett’s bail if it was re-set at $200,000 as the prosecution suggested, but could place conditions on Corbett’s bail release if he set the bail at $150,000.
“I’m lowering it so his whereabouts can be known to the complaining witness,” Clarke said during the hearing. “I expect that Mr. Corbett will go directly to the facility to be admitted and he’ll stay there.”
The judge told Corbett that he will have to return to court within 48 hours if he is no longer at the treatment facility to explain what happened.
Corbett — who has remained jailed since his arrest — was ordered to return to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse April 11 for a status conference.
A 911 call placed by a panicked Bullock from a bedroom closet as a stranger prowled her house was played in court during a hearing in which Corbett was ordered to stand trial.
“I’m locked in my closet,” Bullock told the police operator. “I have a safe door in my bedroom, and I’ve locked it, and I’m locked in the closet right now.”
Bullock described the intruder as wearing a “dark sweatshirt and dark pants, going up the stairs to my attic” before telling the dispatcher she heard someone “banging on the door” to her bedroom.
The police operator told the shaken actress that officers were responding “with lights and sirens.”
Minutes later, Bullock was told the stranger was in custody, but was advised not to come out of the closet in case there’s a “crossfire situation.” Once Bullock verified that police were outside her bedroom door, she was told to open the door.
Corbett — who is accused of climbing a fence to get onto the star’s property about 5 a.m. — was carrying photos of the actress and a notebook containing a letter to her, according to testimony presented at Corbett’s preliminary hearing.
Detectives described an arsenal of weapons they said were discovered in the defendant’s residence after Los Angeles police searched the converted garage in which he was apparently living. He is not charged with having a weapon with him at the time of the pre-dawn break-in at Bullock’s home.
— City News Service