Today’s Headlines

  • Schumer: Federal Transpo Bill Will Help Finance Hudson Transit Tunnel (WNYC, NYTAMNY, AP)
  • 32BJ Backs de Blasio Housing Plan, Including the Parking Reforms (Politico)
  • Driver Who Killed Victoria Nicodemus Was Caught Driving With Invalid License in March (Post)
  • Twitterverse, DNA Commenters Can’t Focus on the Fact That Nicodemus Was Killed By a Reckless Driver
  • Wrong-Way Driver Crashes Into B46 Bus and Dies (News)
  • Hudson River Crossings Now Cost $12.50 Roundtrip, East River Bridges Still Free (WNYC)
  • MTA and James Oddo Want Riders to Weigh in on Every Bus Route on Staten Island (DNA)
  • Cab Medallions Aren’t Worth What They Were Two Years Ago (Crain’s)
  • MTA Delivers Good News for New Yorkers Who Walk in Heels (Gothamist)
  • Jaime Lerner: To Combat Climate Change, “People Must Take Priority Over Cars” (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • armyvet00

    So pizza lady is more important than the fact that this murderer is only facing a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail? People feel fit to comment on what they would have done if ‘they were there’, but if you really want to help, call your legislator and demand changes to the laws.

  • Brian Howald

    Negligently kill someone and pay zero in bail?

  • qrt145

    If the judge is persuaded that the accused will show up and is not likely to commit other crimes while awaiting trial, I see no reason for a higher bail.

  • That is correct. Bail is not punishment; its sole function is to ensure that an accused person will return for his/her court dates.

    However, the question of whether someone is a flight risk is determined by the possible punishment if convicted. The impossibility of jail time in this case means that the defendant here would have little to gain by absconding.

    So, while we must not complain about bail being used for its appropriate purpose, we can rightfully complain that the defendant’s release without bail is a signal of how light the punishment for vehicular violence is.

  • Guest

    I think bail is a combination of both assuring appearance, and protecting the public from further unlawful activity by the accused. You’re right about the minimal flight risk. However, the fact the guy had already been caught driving with an invalid license, and then went on to kill somebody with a car does raise the question about the likelihood he will pose a threat behind the wheel yet again, no?

  • bolwerk

    In theory bail is supposed to balance the rights of the accused against the state’s interest in assuring they appear for trial, but more realistically the goal of bail is it probably minimizes incarceration costs to the state.

  • This guy certainly is a risk to harm the public again. But bail that is excessive for a misdemeanor charge is not the mechanism to address this.

    If the defendant is facing virtually no possibility of jail time after conviction, then any bail request that is beyond the defendant’s ability to pay (which would thereby keep him in jail) would be denied by any judge, as the judge in this case did.

    And rightfully so. Bail should never be used punitively or under the rationale of “protecting the public”. Allowing for that would introduce tremendous abuse by prosecutors, which would lead to terrible harm, especially to vulnerable populations.

    The solution is to persuade the district attorneys’ offices to bring reckless endangerment or even manslaughter charges in cases like this. They don’t do that currently because they don’t think that they can get convictions on those charges, partly based on the absence of caselaw in similar situations. Defence lawyers could easily cite a whole lot of similar (or worse) cases in which only Vehicle and Traffic Law sections were charged.

    So, until some DA’s office takes a chance and makes serious charges stick in a case like this, and until that conviction survives appeals up to the state’s top court (so that the decision would become a precedent for future prosecutions), there will be no change in the practice of DA’s offices.

    The only other remedy would be for the manslaughter or reckless endagerment statutes to be re-written in a way such that they more explicitly apply to situtations of vehicular violence. But getting legislators to consider that sort of thing would be extremely difficult, to say the least.

  • djx

    In NYC bail often increases incarceration costs because many poor people cannot pay it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/11/us/when-bail-is-out-of-defendants-reach-other-costs-mount.html?_r=0

  • Brian Howald

    That’s a totally fair point, but the man was cited for driving without a license nine months ago. Isn’t that evidence that he will possibly do the same thing again?

  • Brian Howald

    “The solution is to persuade the district attorneys’ offices to bring reckless endangerment or even manslaughter charges in cases like this.”

    I couldn’t tell if the judge was nodding to that point, when she mentioned that in lieu of more serious charges, she would not set bail.

  • bolwerk

    I agree, but don’t think that’s not a conscious choice. I doubt many judges are willing to set bail levels higher than prosecutors request.

  • armyvet00

    Which is exactly why this is unbelievable! He murdered this woman AFTER he was caught in March doing the same thing he was charged with here………

  • Larry Littlefield

    The vehicle should be held without bail. Particularly since most news sources report it as the perpetrator of the killing.

  • Omykiss

    In NYS-FISHING without a license, in addition to a summons, penalty DEC also will confiscate your gear.
    Can/do we do that with cars in these instances? i.e. cause death or injury, unlicensed driver, repeat offender etc.

  • Kevin Love

    Meanwhile, in places that care about human life…

    Killer car drivers are denied bail and held in jail until trial when there is evidence that they will pose a threat to the public by illegally driving AGAIN while out on bail.

    See:

    http://www.saultstar.com/2013/09/10/suspect-in-fatality-denied-bail

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