Last Updated on March 28, 2020
A Manhattan judge has freed an alleged murderer and 15 other inmates after a Legal Aid petition demanded the release of the suspects as it was deemed they would constitute a high risk for catching the deadly coronavirus.
According to The New York Post, State Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer released Pedro Vinent-Barcia, 63, a career criminal who had allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death.
Although prosecutors objected to the decision to release Vinent-Barcia on the grounds of the brutality of his alleged crime and his long rap sheet.
The Assistant District Attorney Patricia Bailey said that Vinent-Barcia had stalked his victim for several months before tracking her down at an East Harlem cellphone repair store.
He then proceeded to brutally stab his girlfriend multiple times in the chest and back.
When the police arrested the suspect, he reportedly asked, “Is she dead? I hope so.”
Vinent-Barcia, who suffered from cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease and type II diabetes, would have likely died if he had caught the deadly Covid-19.
The New York Post reported:
The judge ultimately sided with Legal Aid lawyer Corey Stoughton, who stated in court papers that Vinent-Barcia has cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease and type II diabetes.
“As a result of his medical conditions and age, Mr. Vinent Barcia is at high risk for severe illness or death if [he] contract[s] COVID-19,” he wrote.
The Legal Aid Society, which represents indigent clients, has argued in their petitions that the continued confinement of elderly and sickly inmates during a pandemic violates their constitutional rights.
The city Department of Correction said Friday that 103 inmates at city jails have tested positive for coronavirus — a significant jump from the 75 reported on Wednesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city planned to release 375 inmates this week.
The same judge, Mark Dwyer, also threw the book at two Proud Boys for brawling with members of Antifa, sentencing the men to four years behind bars.
The New York Post reported that “Maxwell Hare, 27, and John Kinsman, 40, terms that were six months above the minimum.”
No Antifa members were prosecuted as the black-clad group refused to cooperate with authorities.
Judge Dwyer also drew controversy in 2014 after a child molester he had convicted–Rabbi Baruch Lebovits, who had pleaded guilty to eight felony counts of sexual abuse–was prematurely released after three months in prison after the District Attorney had recommended 2-to-6 years imprisonment.
Rabbi Lebovits was freed early from jail “for good behavior,” according to the New York Jewish Week, which reported:
The prosecution clearly understood the distinction and, about three weeks after the plea deal was struck and a month before sentencing, sent a letter clarifying the issue to Dwyer.
The letter, obtained by The Jewish Week, noted that a defendant “apparently cannot waive the discretionary ‘good behavior’ allowance and, citing case law, went on to explain that a defendant can waive conditional release from incarceration. It then requested the court to note on the sentencing documents that the defendant had waived this conditional, early release. (As it turned out, that waiver was not noted on the documents, likely the result of a clerical error. Because Lebovits did not apply for and thus receive a conditional release, the failure to note it had no practical impact on the length of his sentence.).
Earlier this week, National File reported on 211 members of the NYPD catching the coronavirus. Inmates would be considered as being at a high risk of infection.