Robert Blake may yet get his shot at freedom.
The California Supreme Court has given the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department until Monday to come up with a good (legal) reason the Baretta star should remain in its jail while he awaits trial for the slaying of wife Bonny Lee Bakley.
Blake, now 69, has been behind bars--held without bail--since his April 18 arrest on charges he gunned down Bakley outside a Studio City, California, restaurant, on May 4, 2001.
Police say Blake committed the murder while lying in wait, a big no-no that could have made his trial a death penalty case (but didn't because prosecutors opted not to pursue that route), and, so far, has disqualified him from enjoying a bail hearing.
On Wednesday, California's highest court ordered police to show why the lying-in-wait charge should stand.
If the charge doesn't stand, the Emmy-winning actor would be eligible for release on $1 million bail.
"We are hopeful now that he will get out on bail," Blake's attorney, Harland Braun, told the Associated Press.
While Braun's been working overtime to win his client a get-of-jail (not quite for free) card, lower courts have three times rejected previous requests for a Blake bail hearing.
The Blake case is set to progress to the preliminary hearing stage November 13.
The prelim will allow witness testimony and other evidence to be heard. At issue will be whether Blake and his bodyguard, Earl Caldwell, should stand trial for murder and conspiracy to commit murder, respectively. Both men have pleaded innocent to all charges facing them.
Caldwell is currently free on bail, courtesy a bond posted by Blake himself.
In a phone interview with the Associated Press last month, Blake denied killing his wife.
The grownup Little Rascal said he was hopeful for a Hollywood ending--one in which he is acquitted and allowed to "walk into the sunset" and raise his and Bakley's daughter, Rose, now 2.
If convicted, Blake faces life in prison.