A federal judge ordered Otis Mobley, 23, released until his trial on the condition that he reads and writes every day. Mobley is accused of trying to sell a grenade launcher to a federal agent. The order has been stayed until at least Friday, but if he is released, Mobley will have a GPS monitor and be required to complete a book report every day.
Mobley was one of three suspects arrested by police and federal agents on March 28, the culmination of an ATF operation gone bad.
Mobley, his cousin and another man are accused of trying to sell a grenade launcher to an ATF agent in the parking lot of a Chevy's restaurant. According to federal court papers, Mobley's two accomplices aimed loaded weapons at the undercover agent. Shots were fired, one suspect was hit in the leg and two guns were found on the ground.
Now, federal district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has affirmed a lower court's decision to release Mobley on a $150,000 bond, pending trial. He would live on his grandmother's rural property in Sebastopol with an electronic ankle bracelet.
Rogers added one more condition -- that Mobley read and write, at least 90 minutes every day.
"I've seen a lot of unusual conditions of release in the past, but I have never seen anything like this,' ABC7 News legal analyst Dean Johnson said. "I don't know, I can't imagine what the rationale is for requiring him to read books and make book reports."
Federal prosecutors have appealed Rogers' release order. Though he did not have a gun, Mobley is still charged with brandishing a firearm and assault of a federal officer. Court papers say Mobley "uses alcohol and illicit drugs regularly," has a criminal background including a conviction for "domestic battery" and a history of failing to appear, missing at least six hearings in prior cases. And, Mobley admitted he "shot someone in the head" in self defense, though he was never charged with the man's murder.
Mobley's grandfather in San Pablo told ABC7 News he believes his grandson, who has a 4-year-old son, can turn his life around.
"I do think he should have a chance," he said.
When asked about the reading and writing requirements, Mobley's grandfather added, "I'm sure it's good to do reading and writing. It's good for anybody to read and write."
The US Attorney had no comment Tuesday, but ATF spokesperson Helen Dunkel said, "We are not in a position to second guess a judge's decision. We are doing the best we can to investigate the incident."
Federal prosecutors are doing their best to appeal Rogers' release order, which has been stayed until at least Friday, to give them a chance to file their paperwork with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.