NY judges clash over releasing accused perp of wave of attacks on synagogues under 'bail reform' law

A man accused of a wave of terror against Jewish institutions is walking the streets of New York again without putting up any bail money, even after one judge demanded a $20,000 bail or $30,000 security bond.  In a startling pair of judicial rulings within hours of each other, at first:

A Bronx judge went rogue on Sunday and ordered the accused Riverdale synagogue vandal held on $20,000 bail — even though prosecutors insisted the man had to be sprung under the state's controversial bail-reform laws.

Jordan Burnette, 29, was hit with 42 charges, including a number of hate crime–related offenses for allegedly smashing windows at various synagogues and swiping prayer books during an 11-day crime spree.

But none of the charges require him to be held on bail, prosecutors noted at his arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court.

"Given the number of attacks, we probably would have asked for substantial bail before January of 2020," Assistant District Attorney Theresa Gottlieb told Judge Louis Nock.

"The legislature did not include hate crimes in its revision of bail reform and, under the law as it exists today, this is not eligible," she added. "We will not violate the law."

But that didn't stop Nock from ordering Burnette held on $20,000 bail, $30,000 bond or $30,000 partially secured bond — after deciding that the "shattering of glass" constitutes a violent felony.

"I've taken a very close look at the law," Nock said. "Given the gravity and the number of charges he's facing, this court is inclined to set bail."

Jordan Burnette (WCBS TV screen grab via NY Post).

Judge Nock's desire to protect the Jewish community from a wave of terror is commendable.  But another judge read the bail reform law differently.

A Bronx judge on Sunday night ordered the alleged Riverdale synagogue vandal be cut loose on supervised release — reversing an earlier decision by a separate jurist to hold the suspect on $20,000 bail.

The suspect, 29-year-old Jordan Burnette, was granted supervised release by Judge Tara Collins in Bronx Criminal Court — hours after he was ordered held on bail on 42 charges stemming from his alleged 11-day crime spree, Patrice O'Shaughnessy, a spokeswoman for the Bronx District Attorney's Office, said. (snip)

It was not immediately clear why Burnette was called back into court Sunday night — or why he was granted supervised release.

So-called "bail reform" laws in New York, California, Illinois, and a few other states allow the release of suspects on personal recognizance — that is, without putting up any money to guarantee they will show up in court for prosecution on the crimes of which they have been accused.  In Burnette's case, he was arrested while riding a bicycle stolen from one of the vandalized synagogues, and there is surveillance tape of him committing some of the vandalism.

So, thanks to "bail reform," a religious community lives in fear.

I can only hope a backlash builds as crime rates soar in the wake of "bail reform," police budget cuts, and the campaign to demonize and demoralize police officers.  If Austin, Texas voters can get a clue, maybe there is hope for New Yorkers and others who live under bail reform legislation.  

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