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Blake's Lawyers Ask Appeals Court to Order Bail Hearing

July 13, 2002|JEAN GUCCIONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Robert Blake's attorneys have asked a state appeals court in Los Angeles to order a bail hearing for the actor and direct the trial judge to reduce the murder charge against him.

Blake, 68, has been held without bail in Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles since he was arrested April 18 in the fatal shooting of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. Bakley was killed near a Studio City restaurant in May 2001.

Defense attorneys Paul L. Hoffman and Harland W. Braun argued in documents filed late Thursday with the 2nd District Court of Appeal that Blake is entitled to a prompt bail hearing.

"It is nonsensical to grant that the defendant has a right to a bail hearing, but not establish a time frame within which the hearing must be held," the attorneys wrote. "Under such a rule, holding a bail hearing the day before trial would be permissible."

Last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lloyd M. Nash said he would set a bail hearing for Blake after a preliminary hearing is held later this year.

Blake, who starred in the 1970s television series "Baretta," has pleaded not guilty to murder, two counts of soliciting murder and conspiracy with the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

The defense petition also urged the appellate court to direct Nash to dismiss the lying in wait allegation by declaring it unconstitutionally vague.

Blake's attorneys accused prosecutors of charging Blake with the special circumstance allegation for the sole purpose of keeping him behind bars. Without that allegation, he would be eligible for bail.

Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said prosecutors have enough evidence to support the charges against Blake.

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