No bail hearing and no plea yet for Batavia man facing multiple charges
A Batavia man who has been arrested multiple times since 2019 but has remained out of jail apparently because of the state's bail reform law was admonished by Judge Charle Zambito today that he is "walking a fine" line while his cases are pending.
Zambito was shown a photograph provided by Genesee Justice that apparently showed Devon Wright, 19, received a traffic ticket for alleged aggravated unauthorized operation. The ticket, Zambito said, indicated that Wright was outside of his residence at night in violation of his terms of release.
It was expected that Wright would enter a guilty plea today in relation to his multiple charges but his attorney, Nathan Pace, said he needed more time to explain the charges and plea to his client. After much haggling over a date -- finding a time that fits into both Pace's calendar and the court calendar -- the parties agree to be back in court at 11:45 a.m., July 19.
After the appearance date was set, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman raised the issue of the email from Genesee Justice with the attached photo.
Friedman noted that at Wright's last court appearance -- after Wright was arrested on a weapon's charge -- he asked that Wright's bail be revoked. He renewed that request today.
Zambito read to Friedman the language of the current bail statute. The law would require Zambito to conduct a bail hearing, at which time Wright could challenge the evidence against him and present his own evidence, and even after the hearing, if Zambito determined new bail requirements were required, Zambito could only set the minimum bail necessary to assure Wright's appearance at future hearings.
"The one thing Mr. Wright has done," Zambito said, "is appear in court when he's told to appear. He may be out committing crimes but he's been here when he needs to be here. I can't change the law. I don't like it myself."
At Wright's May 24 hearing, Zambito also expressed frustration with bail reform law.
"It's impossible under the current bail reform laws," Zambito said then. "It seems Wright is a clear and present danger to the community as long as he is out and he continues to get arrested."
But, Zambito added, "the law doesn't allow a judge to consider community safety when setting bail. I'm frustrated. I think every judge in New York State is frustrated."
In the past 21 months, Batavia PD has reported the following arrests:
- In Nov. 2019, Wright was accused of violating an order of protection and charged with criminal contempt.
- Later that month, Wright was charged with larceny, harassment, and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly stealing money from a person less than 17 years old while in City Centre.
- In March 2020, Wright allegedly caused a disturbance at the Sunoco Gas Station on West Main Street in Batavia and was charged with burglary, assault, and criminal mischief.
- The next month, Wright was accused of running down a person on Highland Park in Batavia while driving a silver sedan. He then allegedly fled the scene on foot. When taken into custody, he allegedly resisted arrest and damaged property at the police station. He was charged with attempted assault, 1st; resisting arrest; obstructing governmental administration, 2nd; criminal mischief, 4th; criminal nuisance, 2nd; and harassment, 2nd. Wright answered to the charges in City Court and bail was set at $10,000 cash, $20,000 bond, or $50,000 partially secured bond. It's unclear if he posted bond or bail but he was released from custody.
- In May 2020, Wright was accused of sexual conduct with a person less than 15 years old and charged with two counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
- In July 2020, Wright was arrested on a pair of warrants, one for alleged failure to pay a fine, the other for an alleged failure to appear in court.
- Wright's most recent arrest came earlier this month. Wright was arrested on a Batavia City Court Warrant and charged with second-degree menacing, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and second-degree harassment. He allegedly threatened several individuals in a vehicle with a weapon.
After reminding Friedman of the constraints of the law, Zambito asked if Friedman wanted a hearing on this latest apparent violation of the terms of Wright's release and Friedman said no.
In speaking to Wright, Zambito noted that the picture couldn't be authenticated and that may be a factor in why Friedman wasn't requesting a hearing because "if he could confirm when the picture was taken he would not only be asking that your bail be pulled but he would be asking for new charges."
He then told Wright, "You're on curfew. You need to be home at 9 p.m., not 10 after nine and you can't be out driving. Your privilege has been revoked."