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Judge Upholds Bail for Biker's Son

Ventura County

October 26, 2001|TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Ventura County judge this week ordered the 25-year-old son of Hells Angels leader George Christie Jr. to remain held in lieu of $1-million bail pending trial on drug sales charges.

The ruling came in response to an Oct. 15 state appellate court decision that found the trial court had failed to give specific reasons when setting bail for George Christie III.

Christie, who has been jailed for nearly eight months, is charged in a broad drug-and-racketeering case involving alleged drug sales to minors by members of the Ventura chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Although Christie has no criminal record, bail was set 10 times higher than the standard bail schedule.

In its opinion, the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Ventura concluded judges must explicitly state their grounds when setting such high bail.

In Christie's case, the appellate court did not recommend a bond amount but sent the matter back to Ventura County Superior Court Judge Art Gutierrez for a rehearing.

That proceeding was held Oct. 19, and Gutierrez issued a written opinion on Tuesday ordering Christie's bail to remain at $1 million.

Gutierrez said his decision was based on information contained in grand jury transcripts and declarations of law enforcement officials.

"The court finds the defendant is vice-president of a sophisticated organized criminal street gang commonly called the Hells Angels, and that he is part of a conspiracy to sell drugs to minors," the judge wrote.

"In fact," he continued, "he personally furnished drugs to minors at weekly barbecues or parties."

Gutierrez, who for purposes of setting bail must presume the charges are true, went on to cite specific incidents in which Christie allegedly supplied a 16-year-old with Vicodin and the same drug to a Ventura High School student.

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