Saturday, June 22, 2013

Edith Parish - killed by her helper - out on bail NY Times

Ethel Parish was killed by a man who helped her with errands.
He was free on bail when he killed her in a crack-fueled rage, police say
Courts, Prosecutors, and Public Defenders are all affected by shrinking public budgets.  Citizens - despite their desire and need for safety - are pressed for cash.  They respond to - and are the source of contradictory demands: throw away the key and cut expenses.
We at Fordham get regular security reports, not of old fashioned purse snatchings, of iPhone snatchings by young men who rob students on their way back to the Rose Hill campus on Fordham Road.  Injury is infrequent but fear is frequent.  The suspects rarely caught.  But when one is arrested, he'll have a long wait to trial in the Bronx. 
I have commented before on the role of underfunded defense lawyers.  Today's Times article focuses on the recidivism side of the coin. - GWC

Free on bail - free to commit another crime - a Bronx Story - NY Times

by Ray Rivera

On the evening of Jan. 5, 2011, Mr. Ragland was helping Ms. Parish, 70, take her air-conditioners out for the winter. But after they argued about how much Ms. Parish owed him for his work, Mr. Ragland, high on crack and in debt to a drug dealer, grabbed a knife from the kitchen counter. “I picked it up and cut her,” he told the police. Her body was discovered on the floor, stabbed 17 times.
Today, a painful question haunts Ms. Parish’s daughters: Why was Mr. Ragland not in prison in the first place?
On the day Ms. Parish died, he had two felony cases pending against him in the Bronx courts. One was a grand larceny charge, arising out of a car theft, that had been open for 15 months, more than twice the court’s standard for excessive delays. The other, a robbery charge involving a street holdup, was now more than a year old. And the Bronx judges who allowed Mr. Ragland, 52, to remain free on bail after each arrest had another reason to suspect he could be dangerous: He had already served 15 years in prison for manslaughter for stabbing an elderly man 41 times.
In another court in another place, 15 months would have been plenty of time to resolve charges that might have put Mr. Ragland away before he killed again. But not in the Bronx, home to one of the country’s most implacable backlog of felony cases....

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