Friday, March 9, 2018



Dutchess DA will not appeal justice’s bail ruling

POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady said Thursday that his office will not appeal State Supreme Court Justice Maria Rosa’s ruling that a defendant’s ability to pay bail must be considered when it is imposed.

Her ruling came in a case filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Christopher Kunkeli, who was arrested on a petit larceny charge.  Justice Rosa wrote in her decision that “Freedom should not depend on an individual’s economic status."

On Thursday, Grady said Rosa’s decision “does not announce any new legal principles, nor does it, in substance, deviate from nor change the mandates presently contained in the Criminal Procedure Law regarding the setting of bail.”

Bail had been set in Dutchess County Court at $5,000 as requested by the defense.

Grady wrote on Thursday that “It should be noted that the defendant’s record shows that he had, in fact, previously made a $5,000 bail set in the City of Poughkeepsie Court on a different case, as well as a $3,000 bail set on another case in Wappingers Falls.”

The DA said the judge also took into account Kunkeli’s extensive criminal record – nine prior misdemeanor convictions and one felony conviction – and his previous history of failing to appear in a number of cases, which resulted in a series of bench warrants issued for him. “In fact, he had just been released from jail after serving a one-year sentence immediately prior to him committing the instant crime,” Grady said.

Grady also said the county court took into account whether Kunkeli was eligible in the county’s Alternatives to Incarceration program, which amounts to supervised release.

He was found ineligible because he had previously cut off an electronic monitoring device whole on a previous pre-trail release program, and his record “shows that a number of warrants had to be issued for his failure to appear at probation on a number of occasions.”

Therefore, Grady said, Judge Sullivan, “in setting appropriate bail in this case followed the mandates of the Criminal Procedure Law and was, in fact consistent with Judge Rosa’s decision.”


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