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June 29, 2021 - 3:23pm

No bail hearing and no plea yet for Batavia man facing multiple charges

posted by Howard B. Owens in devon wright, news, crime, batavia, notify.
devonwrightmug2020.jpg
         Devon Wright

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:

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."

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