Thursday, August 16, 2007
The Attorney General's Office and the state judiciary have launched inquiries into how the men charged in the Newark schoolyard slayings was out on bail at the time of the shootings.
Dick Codey criticized the lowering of bail for one of the suspects, Jose Lachira Carranza, whose bail was reduced in a child-rape case. "It is our understanding that Jose Carranza's bail was reduced from $300,000 to $150,000 as a unilateral decision by the judge, without allowing any input from the prosecutor's office, which is simply unacceptable," Codey said in a statement.
Why would Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena's have decided to lower his bail to $150,000 from $300,000? A chronology released by the office of Essex County Assignment Judge Patricia Costello said the bail was lowered with the consent of Margarita Rivera, the assistant Essex County prosecutor handling the sexual assault case. According to the Star-Ledger, the prosecutor's office said that it never gave such consent.
And on MSNBC last night, they showed footage from the courtroom where Vena asked Carranza for his social security number, and Carranza responded, "I don't have it." The prosecutor clarified the statement, saying Carranza didn't have a social security number. No flags were raised. Nothing.
Of course, with Newark being a major metropolitan city, cries of overbooked courtrooms and overflowing prisons are the norm, but something this egregious shouldn't have been swept aside so easily.
And now 3 boys have paid the price of a system's incompetence.
Criticism spurs probes of slaying suspect's bail