CANTON Patrick R. Lloyd is in custody without bail.
But putting him there was a process that frustrated a community and generated questions about how the bail process works, particularly when a judge is called upon to arraign a suspect with a previous criminal history or other charges outstanding, such as the 25-year-old Massena man accused of involvement in several recent high-profile cases.
The purpose of bail is to ensure that the person shows up for trial, said Laurie Shanks, a clinical professor of law at Albany Law School. This is basically, would you run? Do you have anything to lose?
Bail is not, she said, intended to serve as punishment or a means of preventing anticipated future crimes.
Nor was it used as such in the case of Mr. Lloyd, much to the chagrin of police and political leaders.
Mr. Lloyd was already facing drug and weapons charges in Franklin County when he and his girlfriend, Miranda M. Green, 18, Massena, allegedly tried to kidnap another Massena resident, Catherine A. Berry, 17, of 66 Liberty Ave., on Feb. 16.
Frustration grew after Mr. Lloyd first posted $6,500 bail in Massena Village Court and later was released under probation supervision by St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards.
Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier penned a letter asking What is wrong with the justice system? in the county. Massena Mayor James F. Hidy suggested the judge was not protecting county residents.
The judge said he isnt allowed to comment on criminal matters before him.
Uproar over the case did not surprise David Bookstaver, director of communications for the states court system.
I think there is often an outcry from the public and the editorial pages regarding the issue of bail, said Mr. Bookstaver.
In the outcry, however, critics often overlook the fact that state law dictates the parameters under which judges may grant bail, Mr. Bookstaver said, and that it is a process in which they consider the recommendations of district attorneys and probation officials in weighing potential flight risks.
In his February State of the Judiciary address, the states Chief Judge, Jonathan Lippman, called for reform of New Yorks bail statutes to require judges to take into account public safety considerations and not just flight risk, something he said 46 other states and the District of Columbia already do. New York judges are not required or permitted to do so, Judge Lippman said.
As a result, defendants may be put back on the street with insufficient regard to public safety, with possibly catastrophic consequences, Judge Lippman said.
Such a change concerns Ms. Shanks, who fears changing the law as a knee-jerk reaction to an egregious case, like this one. She argues that defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence.
I think its important to remember that every criminal defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence, said Mr. Lloyds attorney, Edward F. Narrow.
Six days after his release under probation, Mr. Lloyd was jailed late Thursday night after he was accused of taking part in a home invasion at 27½ Spruce St., Massena, earlier in the day. He reappeared before Judge Richards on Friday morning, where the judge revoked Mr. Lloyds bail based on the new arrest, and based on allegations that Mr. Lloyd had violated his probation terms by consuming alcohol.