Bail reform lets a three-time felon free in Poughkeepsie

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POUGHKEEPSIE – One of the first Dutchess County Jail inmates to be released under the new bail reforms is an individual with an extensive criminal history including a conviction for manslaughter.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on January 2, Gwendolyn Anderson was escorted into County Court Judge Edward McLoughlin’s courtroom by two Dutchess County Sheriff Corrections Officers.  Wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles, the three-time felony offender was presented to make an application to be released under the new laws.  Anderson was in the custody of the Dutchess County Sheriff on a Class E felony charge of aggravated DWI.  Johnson is facing one to three years in state prison on that charge.  It was scheduled for disposition on this coming Monday.
Judge McLoughlin, after hearing from both the prosecution and defense attorneys said, “The statute commands that I release this defendant,” and added that the defendant is required to report to the probation department twice a week until her case is adjudicated.  Admonishing the defendant, McLoughlin said, “If it was up to this court, you would not be released!”
According to Colonel Mike Walters of the Dutchess County Jail, the county court judges, McLoughlin and Judge Peter Forman, are expected to review the cases of 13 inmates after Dutchess County Public Defender Thomas Angell filed the requisite paperwork on December 31.
An Order to Show Cause must be filed by an individual’s attorney before they can be released from custody. On Thursday evening, Colonel Walters confirmed that 10 of the 13 inmates were successful in their application to be released.

Angell responded to the function of his office, saying, “Over the last several weeks/months, the Public Defender’s Office has been meeting regularly with the District Attorney’s Office, Probation and the Department of Behavioral & Community Health’s Jail Based Services to review cases in anticipation of the new bail reform legislation.  During this period, many of the cases have been resolved with either the individual being sentenced or released. 

The Public Defender’s Office does not represent all individuals in the Dutchess County Jail.  Private attorneys are responsible for obtaining the release of their clients.