By Zachary Evans, National Review
The suspect who allegedly set fire to the Christmas tree outside the News Corporation building in midtown Manhattan, which houses Fox News, the New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal, was released without bail on Wednesday, the Post reported.
Craig Tamanaha was charged with various misdemeanors including arson, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief, after allegedly setting the tree on fire. Courts are prohibited from setting bail for defendants charged with misdemeanors, except for criminal contempt or sex offenses, under New York’s bail reform legislation, which took effect at the beginning of 2020.
The law is similar to a bill Wisconsin Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes introduced when he was a state lawmaker in 2016. The Democrat’s legislation would have eliminated “monetary bail as a condition of release for a defendant charged with” a crime. Instead of setting bail, Wisconsin courts would be “required to release a defendant before trial” unless they found “by clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant would “cause serious bodily harm to a member of the community” if released. Under the bill, however, courts could not “use the nature, number, and gravity” of the crimes in question as the sole reason to keep someone behind bars, severely limiting prosecutors’ ability to argue that the defendant would be a risk to the community.
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Craig Tamanaha “has a series of low level arrests and drug arrests,” in an interview on WPIX radio. “He was issued some earlier this year—some appearance tickets and didn’t come back to court, which unfortunately is something we see all too often. He also has some low-level arrests out of state—I believe it’s Texas.”
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