ROCHESTER, NY – It’s a murder that really highlights how screwed up New York bail reform is.
Thirty-one year old Parris Washington was shot and killed last Friday afternoon in Rochester, NY. The manner of death has been ruled a homicide. Police Captain, Frank Umbrino said multiple shots were fired.
Olajuwon Holt, age twenty-six and Randall Scott, age thirty, were later arrested and charged with second degree murder in the case.
Randall Scott was released to house arrest with no bail.
Because his lawyer, Don Thompson, argued that Scott has a good standing when it comes to returning to face charges. The District Attorney’s Office said bond was asked for, but not set. The Assistant District Attorney “strenuously” objected.
Here’s the deal. The judge decided that the alleged murderer didn’t need to post bail because when he commits crimes, he usually if not always comes back to stand trial.
His lawyer said Scott previously returned from out-of-state to face misdemeanor charges in a separate case.
He commits crimes, but he comes back, so he’s a good guy? Tell that to Parris Washington’s family.
Randall Scott is one of two people charged in the death of Parris Washington on Bardin Street in June.
Posted by 13 WHAM ABC on Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Randall Scott does have to wear an ankle monitoring device.
He also had to promise to stay home or go back to jail, but his lawyer says he’s not a flight risk because all of the other times he commits crimes he comes back to face trial.
Recidivism, thy name is Randall, but that’s okay, because he comes back for the trial or at least he always has before.
On 7/22/20 Randall Scott was arrested/charged w/Murder 2nd in the 6/19/20 murder of Paris Washington on Bardin St. On 8/4/20 Monroe County Court Judge Karen Bailey-Turner released Scott from jail w/no bail & under the Home Monitoring Program. @RPD_MCU
— RPD Major Crimes Unit (@RPD_MCU) August 5, 2020
The second suspect was Olajuwon Holt, 26. He was arrested Wednesday morning in an early morning raid on Portland Avenue.
Holt was also charged with second-degree murder – but here’s the best part. He is currently already on parole for a second-degree assault conviction. That means more charges for violating his parole will likely follow.
Need another example of the disaster that’s called “bail reform”? How about this case from June?
She woman was only 64 years old – and now she’s dead. Police said she didn’t survive after being put into a medically induced coma following a violent attack.
It turns out that the victim of the horrific rape died on May 27.
“38-year-old Frankie Harris has been arraigned on attempted murder, rape, strangulation and sex abuse charges. But now those charges are likely to be changed now that the incident has been deemed a homicide,” according to ABC 7.
Now we’re told that the suspect was previously freed twice from jail under New York’s bail reform law. Officials say he’ll undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
“Harris, who’s accused of spewing hateful remarks about Puerto Ricans in two earlier violent incidents, targeted 64-year-old Adalinda Delgado-Staiman on May 18, rolling up to her on a Citibike on E. 111th St. near Second Ave. and striking up a conversation,” the New York Daily News reported.
The reporter also said:
He left, only to return a few moments later and choke her from behind, assistant district attorney Justin McNabney said Tuesday.
He dragged her to the ground and choked her for three full minutes, until her legs stopped moving, the prosecutor said.
He raped her, and left her in a pool of her own blood and feces, neighbors told the Daily News.
According to the prosecutor, Harris allegedly stopped the attack and left the victim. He then allegedly returned to continue the assault TWICE before leaving her “completely lifeless body on the pavement”.
He changed his story several times, according to police, after detectives showed the suspect video footage of the incident.
At first, he said the sex was consensual.
He later denied raping her and said he was only on top of the victim to try and revive her.
Then he tried to blame an imaginary “Puerto Rican man” for the horrific crime.
She’s in a vegetative state and expected to die in days after brutal assault and rape — and she’s another victim of the state’s demented bail “reforms”: Her alleged attacker was released twice without bail after arraignment on two prior assaults this year. https://t.co/0azpDovQjR
— James A. Gagliano (@JamesAGagliano) May 28, 2020
It’s not his first time in trouble.
Harris was released not once, but twice in 2020 under bail reform guidelines. Both of the previous cases involved either violence or sexual misconduct.
On February 6th, police arrested Harris for allegedly slapping a woman’s rear and he was subsequently charged with forcible touching and sex abuse. During a hearing on February 8th, Justice Gerald Lebovits attempted to set bail at $10,000.
That bail amount only lasted three days.
At the request of the defense, another bail hearing was held with Justice Althea Drysdale handling the proceeding. Drysdale ordered Harris to be freed under a form of supervised release. Yet, in under two weeks’ time, Harris was back in custody under new charges.
Update: The suspect has been identified as Frankie Harris. He was twice jailed and freed this year for assault. He was charged with sex abuse in one of the cases. https://t.co/sCuO5PAihX #RestorativeJustice https://t.co/EhIxYnYOBQ
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) May 27, 2020
Authorities say that in Harris’ second arrest this year, he assaulted a mother in front of her two children, ages three and five years old, by punching her in the mouth. Harris allegedly spat on her and threatened to kill her, all in front of her kids.
Police say that Harris then punched another man in the face, and then spit on a third person as well. During the commission of these alleged crimes, authorities say that Harris then called the victims “Puerto Rican f*ggots.”
These alleged acts landed Harris a whopping 16 charges, which included the likes of third-degree assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, endangering the welfare of a child, menacing and resisting arrest.
The judge "ordered him to participate in another supervised release program" for the 2nd time.
Someone should check on these programs, they don't work.
"A spokesman for the Brooklyn DA’s office said none of the charges qualify for bail under the new bail reform laws." (?!)
— (((NameThisProfile-CivilDiscourse)))?????? (@SglNewYork) May 27, 2020
Of course, bail reform came into play once again. When Harris faced Judge Hilary Gingold regarding these charges, he was released once again under a supervised release program. Despite having scheduled court appearances for these previous charges, police say that Harris never showed up to court once released.
It wasn’t until the attack on the elderly woman transpired that authorities caught back up with Harris and placed him into custody.
Woman beaten, robbed for wearing respirator mask. Four teens arrested, walk free thanks to NY ‘bail reform’.
April 3, 2020
HILTON, NY – Authorities in New York have stated that a woman was viciously beaten and robbed by a group of teenagers, allegedly because she was wearing a respirator mask inside of the store she was in.
Deputies say this crime all stemmed from a form of ignorance that manifested into violence.
— Jennifer Hinkley⚔️????⭐️Trump??#MAGA #KAG ? (@JennifersGraphD) April 2, 2020
The incident took place on March 23rd inside of a Family Dollar located at 82 South Ave in Hilton. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of a robbery at the location, where a woman claimed she was attacked and robbed by four teenagers.
While the woman was inside of the store shopping, the group of teens were harassing her for wearing a respirator mask, according to deputies. The teens were claiming inside the store that the woman must be infected with COVID-19 as she was making her way through the store.
When the woman tried to leave the Family Dollar, she was then confronted by the harassing teens outside. Deputies stated that the victim was struck multiple times in the face by the group, and then had her wallet and car keys stolen.
A woman who went shopping at a Family Dollar store in Hilton, New York, says she was punched in the face, then robbed by four teenagers, because she was wearing a respirator mask. https://t.co/30I7y9euu3
— NewsRadio WFLA ?? (@WFLANews) April 1, 2020
Authorities say that the woman sustained minor injuries during the violent encounter.
Deputies from the MCSO, along with the Ogden Police Department, were able to recover the woman’s stolen vehicle in Ogden, a town not far from Hilton. When the vehicle was found and pulled over, deputies arrested four teens that were present inside of the stolen car.
Now, 18-year-old Rocco Gingello, 19-year-old Alexis Gingello, and 19-year-old Taya O’Connor are all facing charges of felony second-degree robbery.
The fourth teen of the group, 19-year-old Nicholas Henderson, is also facing the same robbery charges, but was additionally charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon along with some driving infractions.
Oh, since this is New York, you know bail reform came into play on this as well.
The four teens were arraigned in Parma Town Court and then released with an order to appear for court at a later date.
The fact that four teens can attack a woman and steal her car and then get released is just plain stupid.
New York said they would try to fix bail reform, but they seemingly haven’t done that at all.
The first quarter of 2020 has seen the ramifications of bail reform impact the state of New York. From citizens becoming victimized by those being caught and released, to officials catching a wave of backlash from law enforcement and constituents over the enactment of such.
It was only a matter of time before Governor Andrew Cuomo had to do something.
Which brings us to the “reform” of bail reform.
New York state budget deal includes overhaul of bail reform: sources https://t.co/6FeR1xxeEW pic.twitter.com/PdFHxOrcG1
— New York Post (@nypost) April 1, 2020
Discussions began getting more frequent regarding what exactly to do about bail reform on March 18th, which is when Governor Cuomo sat down with prosecutors, police officials and criminal justice personas to discuss the topic.
Seeing that some resolution had to come to a head in time for the April 1st budget deadline, time was of the essence.
Yet, there was controversy around the idea of whether to reinstitute cash bail when jails are simultaneously trying to reduce populations due to the ongoing pandemic. Democratic Assemblyman Victor Pichardo voiced concerns on that topic:
“We cannot allow large sums of people to once again be stuck in the pre-trial phase. This would put more people at risk of COVID-19, in turn clogging up our overburdened hospitals.”
"Ultimately, the reversal of New York’s bail reform law will ensure that thousands of New Yorkers are exposed to a deadly virus while New York’s hospitals are drastically overburdened." https://t.co/N6BKoL5YBR
— RaceNYU (@RaceNYU) April 2, 2020
On the other hand, there are those that feel rendering judges powerless in matters related to bail, remand, or releasing someone on their own recognizance creates their own version of public safety risks. Chief Judge Janet DiFiore had mentioned that notion earlier in the year:
“That goal cannot be accomplished if judges are rendered powerless to devise the best securing orders for those very few individuals who have been shown to pose a credible risk of danger.”
So, what exactly was passed in this budget that relates to bail reform?
Well, apparently cash bail has been removed from the equation all together regarding misdemeanors and non-violent arrests.
Does this mean the state is off worse than before with regard to bail reform in it’s first iteration? It’s not exactly worse, nor just as bad either, but it’s far from being “better”.
The legislature's "fixes" to the disastrous bail reform are no fixes at all.
This was always about political window dressing to silence critics, not actually making New Yorkers safe.https://t.co/hm3DoxneTk
— New York GOP (@NewYorkGOP) April 2, 2020
When it comes to what’s considered non-violent crimes and misdemeanors, a judge in New York cannot set a dollar amount for someone to be released from custody under really any circumstance.
Once an alleged crime crosses a certain threshold in severity, then appearance bonds can be ordered to obtain release.
However, some semblance of judiciary discretion has been afforded back to judges – even when reviewing non-violent felony charges.
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In select cases where a judge wouldn’t be able to set a cash bail, they may still be able to remand a defendant.
Although, the circumstances when a judge can remand a defendant is complex.
For one, a judge would have to articulate that there’s a likelihood that the defendant would commit a violent offense if released back out to the public. To further complicate matters, a judge may only consider instances of remand based upon the current charges levied against a defendant; meaning criminal history cannot be cited.
Now, does that mean a judge won’t be able to see said history and not silently ponder that information? Who knows, but if they ever did consider it, they’d have to be tight-lipped about that consideration.
In cases where judges are essentially forced to let someone walk free, they still have an ability to create certain release conditions.
Now, much like when considering remand, judges may only take into account the current charges a defendant is facing when creating release restrictions or guidelines.
What these non-monetary release conditions could look like is travel restrictions, forms of electronic monitoring, or even mandated check-ins akin to those on parole or probation.
Still, what really cripples judges in this “reformed” bail reform is the narrow scope that they’re allowed to consider when determining public risk, remand, and release conditions. Simply put, only considering the current charges that someone is facing is not a sensible way to determine public risk or likelihood to appear in court.
The fact that New York budged at all from the egregious bail reform can be considered a “win” to some, but it’s a very small “win” when reviewing what changes are in store.
Unfortunately, the discussion around bail reform, and reaching a sensible solution, was completely derailed by COVID-19 hitting New York as hard as it has.
In short, we’re likely to still see the kinds of people that should be held in custody still getting released under the revised bail reform guidelines.
While there may be a sporadic defendant remanded every so often, or someone administered intense supervision upon pre-trial release, bail reform seems like it hasn’t changed that much at all.