Grass Valley police decry release of suspected drug dealer; over 1,000 people comment online
The Grass Valley Police Department over the weekend slammed a judge’s decision to release a man facing drug and weapons charges on his own recognizance, a rebuke that drew over 1,000 Facebook comments in about 24 hours.
The post, made Saturday on the police department’s Facebook page, states that officers spent hours writing and serving search warrants connected to the case of Jeremy Sulley, 29. Those warrants led to the discovery of enough suspected drugs to intoxicate over 2,000 people.
“That’s more than 15% of the entire population of Grass Valley,” the post states.
Held on $250,000 in bail, Sulley appeared Friday in Nevada County Superior Court before Judge Candace Heidelberger, according to reports and Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh. Records show the judge released Sulley on his own recognizance — meaning he had to pay no bail.
“The Nevada County District Attorney’s Office did their part by filing a slew of charges and arguing for a significant bail amount … but, he was released anyway,” the police post states.
“Number of people that could have gotten high on the amount of drugs he possess = over 2,000,” the post continues later. “The initial bail amount set at the time of booking = 250,000. Release of an armed drug dealer with no bail – PRICELESS.”
The Facebook post doesn’t mention Heidelberger by name. Police Chief Alex Gammelgard, along with other high-ranking officers, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Contacted Sunday, Heidelberger said judges can never talk about pending cases. She declined comment.
“The guy didn’t have a super extensive record, which is one consideration a judge can use when denying or granting (a release on someone’s own recognizance),” Walsh said. “It was our position that bail should have been set.”
Officers arrested Sulley after finding him about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday slumped over behind the wheel of a running vehicle. He’d been unconscious for about two hours, police have said.
An officer saw a bong and suspected heroin in Sulley’s lap. A search of the vehicle revealed more drugs, a loaded .22-caliber handgun and about $1,000 in cash, reports state.
Walsh said his office respects the judge’s decision, though he noted Sulley is accused of having drugs while armed.
“We believe he presents a significant public safety risk and we think bail should have been set,” Walsh said.
Facebook commenters rallied to support the Grass Valley police’s stance. Some people asked how they could change what happened.
“This has been asked many times on this post,” the police’s Facebook page responded to one comment. “We hope our community will stay informed about these very important issues, not just today, but into the future!”
The issue of bond in California remains in limbo.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would have eliminated cash bail. The law is shelved until voters decide the issue in a November 2020 statewide referendum.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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