ROCKPORT, Maine — A judge set bail Monday at $500 cash — well below what the state sought — for a woman who is accused of illegally taking her children to Louisiana.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald sought $10,000 cash bail because of the woman’s criminal record and the seriousness of the charges.
Candice Owens, also known as Candice Bouchard, 34, of Searsmont is charged with four counts of criminal restraint by a parent. Each felony charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.
The state claims that Owens took the children — ages 4 to 14-years-old — to Louisiana during February vacation even though she was only permitted supervised visits with them.
The father, who has custody of the children, went to the Rockport Police Department as soon as he learned she had left the state.
She was arrested in Louisiana and was extradited to Maine. The children were reunited with their father, who lives in Rockport.
On Monday in Rockland District Court, defense attorney for the day Peter Mason told the court this was a child custody dispute that had now gone to the criminal court. He said $10,000 was well beyond what she could afford to raise and asked that the bail amount be set at $500.
Fernald, however, argued that Owens was a flight risk and that she fled to Louisiana with the children because her new husband has family there.
He also said she had criminal convictions in the past three years for disorderly conduct, drug possession, operating under the influence, violating probation and violating a protective order.
Nevertheless, Judge Susan Sparaco set bail at $500 with certain conditions, including that Owens not leave the state and that she sign a contract with Maine PreTrial Services, which among other things provides risk assessment and supervision.