In a rare turn of events, a man charged with multiple felonies is being released from jail today because the District Attorney's office did not bring his case to the Grand Jury in a timely manner.
Michael L. Jackson, Jr. still faces two counts of grand larceny, a count of burglary and a count of criminal mischief stemming from an alleged break-in at Holland High Lift building in Bethany on April 11, but Judge Robert Noonan released him this afternoon from Genesee County Jail, where he was held on $25,000 bail.
The D.A.'s office had 45 days to seek an indictment from the Grand Jury, but as Asst. D.A. Will Zickl explained to Noonan, the D.A.'s office has been waiting for DNA-match results from a Monroe County criminal lab.
Zickl argued that the DNA evidence could potentially make for a stronger case to bring to the grand jury, but it also could be exculpatory and be "to the defendant's benefit." There have been requests sent to the lab to quickly finish the tests, but to date, no results have been received.
(Presumably, there was DNA evidence collected at the scene of the alleged crime. Zickl said Jackson submitted to a mouth swab at the time of his arrest.)
There were also ongoing negotiations for a plea bargain, Zickl said, which kept open the possibility of a plea without the necessity of a Grand Jury indictment.
Defense Attorney Gary Horton said he was aware of only one plea bargain offer from the D.A.'s office, and that offer was immediately rejected by Jackson.
Horton contended that there was nothing preventing the D.A.'s office from presenting the case to the Grand Jury at any time.
"There was probable cause for an arrest," Horton said. "If that probable cause appears sufficient for an arrest, then presumably it rises to the same level of proof for a Grand Jury."
Zickl also argued that Jackson is a significant flight risk. He allegedly left the state immediately after the alleged crime was committed, but Horton countered that Jackson didn't know he was a suspect in the case at the time and that he returned to New York voluntarily.
Noonan said the issue before him wasn't about DNA, it was whether the people could have presented the case, and he saw no reason the people couldn't have proceeded.
Jackson indicated that upon release he had a place to stay in Oakfield.
Jackson is accused of damaging parts worth $1,500 and stealing items worth at least $8,000 and a pickup truck valued at $19,000.