One thing's for sure: Robert Blake ain't lying in wait for bail.

The ex-Baretta star's attorneys Friday got busy and called on a California appeals court to order the judge in his notorious murder case to give the actor a shot at freedom--pronto.

In another gambit, the Blake camp also urged the appeals court to throw out a special-circumstance charge facing the actor. Prosecutors allege Blake, now 68, was "lying in wait" in the shooting death of Bonnie Lee Bakley, May 4, 2001, outside a restaurant in Studio City, California.

The filings come as Blake, behind bars since his April 18 arrest, looks to spend the summer in the cooler. The actor, who has pleaded innocent to all counts against him, was hoping things would work out otherwise at a bail hearing scheduled for June 27.

But instead of ruling on the request, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash used to occasion to say he couldn't possibly grant Blake bail until after a preliminary hearing on the lying-in-wait charge.

"I have a completely open mind with respect to bail," Nash said in court. "But I want to hear the evidence."

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> Blake's attorneys told the judge they wouldn't be ready for a prelim until November, at the earliest. Nash suggested an early September start date. Either way, the bottom line was Blake wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

In court filings Friday, Blake's attorney's argued his "clearly established right to a bail hearing" was ignored by the judge's actions, and that the upcoming prelim on the special-circumstance charge centered on a "purely legal issue" that doesn't speak to whether the actor is worthy or not of being freed until trial.

Earlier, Blake legal eagle Harland Braun told reporters prosecutors are using the special-circumstance charge to keep his client in jail because "it's easier to convict someone who's locked up."

Usually, a special-circumstance charge is used to seek the death penalty, but prosecutors have already decided against pursuing such a sentence against Blake. Still, they want Blake, whom they allege unsuccessfully sought to hire hit men to kill Bakley before doing the deed himself, to remain behind bars until trial because they fear he could skip town.

Barring intervention from the appeals court, the next round in the Blake murder case is scheduled for August 27. Nash has said he hopes the prelim hearing can begin 10 days after that.

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