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Judge: Raucci bail decision to be made in a week

Friday, July 17, 2009
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Steven Raucci is led from Schenectady County Court on July 16, 2009.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Steven Raucci is led from Schenectady County Court on July 16, 2009.

— In sometimes heated arguments Thursday, Steven Raucci’s defense attorney told a judge that a lower court was arbitrary in ordering his client held without bail.

Ronald DeAngelus argued that Raucci wasn’t given a proper hearing on the matter to confront key witnesses whose testimony prosecutors used to help keep Raucci behind bars pending trial.

But Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney argued that the issue was a simple one, pointing to the two dozen counts lodged against Raucci, three of them top-level felonies.

The top-level felonies are on the same legal par as murder charges, Carney noted, carrying sentences of up to 25 years to life in state prison upon conviction.

“In the eyes of the law, he stands no different than somebody charged with a triple homicide,” Carney said, pointing to the arson and terrorism charges Raucci faces.

None of the charges against Raucci allege that anyone was physically hurt.

“He’s 60 years old. That puts him in the position of a near certainty of life in prison. That criteria alone is enough to support Judge [Polly] Hoye’s decision,” Carney said.

A decision on the appeal is not expected until July 23. Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Giardino said from the bench that he expected to hand down a written decision then.

The day’s arguments were just the latest chapter in the protracted bail saga involving the retired city schools director of facilities. It began shortly after his Feb. 20 arrest in Schenectady on a single arson charge with $200,000 bond being set and posted. He never saw freedom, as he was immediately arrested on charges from other jurisdictions.

Two bail decisions have followed, as the charges piled on, ordering that Raucci be held without bail pending trial. Raucci has been jailed continuously for nearly five months now.

Raucci is accused of placing incendiary devices at four homes around the Capital Region. Two of the devices exploded. He is also accused of damaging the cars and homes of people who disagreed with him, slashing tires, damaging paint or damaging windshields. One couple reported their car being vandalized five times.

During Thursday’s arguments, attorneys on both sides briefly strayed into the initial bail arguments before being brought back to the issue at hand, whether the decision by Hoye was arbitrary.

DeAngelus strayed to the witnesses themselves, one of whom is believed to be former school district employee Harold Gray, the alleged victim in a number of counts against Raucci.

Gray is one of four people attempting to file suit against the district over Raucci’s alleged actions, something Hoye noted in her decision.

“I have a right to bring him in here and cross-examine him as to his money-grubbing interests,” DeAngelus said before Giardino attempted to focus DeAngelus back on the alleged arbitrariness of the decision.

DeAngelus said it is important to have Raucci out of jail so he can assist in his own defense. It’s a massive case, DeAngelus said.

“This is an intentional attack on the Constitution of the United States, and I believe this will become a leading case in bail in the state of New York,” DeAngelus said.

Carney has argued that the charges are serious and witnesses fear retaliation should he be released.

Carney strayed from the point as well, repeating other aspects of his original motion seeking to deny bail. He repeated that Raucci’s DNA was found on a failed bomb at a Schodack home.

DeAngelus interjected that the DNA allegations weren’t proven.

Carney also noted allegations that Raucci has sworn not to die in prison and would commit suicide and possibly attack others first.

Despite the allegations, Raucci has been quiet and generally non-responsive in court appearances, either looking ahead or down. Thursday, he appeared to shake his head at Carney’s assertion. Raucci also briefly said something to his attorney shortly after.

DeAngelus interjected again a short time later, saying he would make the witness “eat those words,” given the chance to cross-examine him.

But Carney said Giardino need look no further than the three top-level felonies in finding that the bail was reasonable.

 
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comments

July 16, 2009
1:18 p.m.
ella says...

Is the Raucci attorney DeAngelus the brother of the SCSD Sal DeAngelus the school treasurer?? Would that not be a conflict somehow??

July 16, 2009
1:36 p.m.
WJB says...

Isn't it odd that every time that Steven Raucci applies for bail another "sensational" story appears about another person that he terrorized? If we knew all names of the people he terrorized we'd probably be able to match that to all the people who have lawsuits pending. Sounds like a "mob mentality". Whatever happened to "innocent until PROVEN guilty?

July 16, 2009
1:50 p.m.
Sparkles4u says...

Message to Ella...The Distict Clerk of the Board is Salvatore DEANGELO...therefore,as you can see, they can't be brother's. DeAngelo-DeAngelus...WOW, some people are determined to always find a "connection or conflict" within the school district. Give it a rest!

July 16, 2009
1:59 p.m.
Concerned1 says...

WJB, isn't it interesting that there ARE so many stories about this guy, his "friends" and their behavior. I don't know about you but there are not that many stories about me like this. Mob mentality is a good description but not about his victims. And, yes, innocent until proven guilty is what we all believe in. But his DNA at homes of people that have been vandalized is more that just a coincidence. Let him have a fair trial, let his lawyers do their best but, leave him where he is for now.

July 16, 2009
2:54 p.m.
nygirl61 says...

Don't give him bail... he'll run!

July 16, 2009
6:41 p.m.
cloverfield says...

In his column today Carl Strock wrote about the notes written by the school district's Director of Human Resources regarding the activites of Steven Raucci.It is obvious that Mr. Stricos had knowlege of Raucci's activities and he chose to turn a blind eye.
Now, in light of this information, why would the school board reward him with a contract extension when he was so negligent in the carrying out of his responsibilities? Those board members who voted for the extension owe their constituents, especially those who appear to have been targeted by Raucci, a rational explanation.

July 16, 2009
7:38 p.m.
artvandalay says...

They owe us an immediate resignation. Especially horrible Jiffy Jeffy who sat in on that meeting and lied about it later.

Where are the results of the comprehensive $100/hr taxpayer funded review of Raucci's perverted school activities? Raucci should be sent one way to Club Gitmo in Cuba like all other terrorists.

July 17, 2009
7:47 a.m.
voices_heard2 says...

i just don't get it...why would you give someone bail who was quoted for saying he would not be satisfied until one victim wasn't breathing?! what is there to really think about here...innocent until proven guilty...riiight...so let's give him more time to do more damage and finish was he couldn't before?!

July 17, 2009
8:57 a.m.
lireecy says...

Raucci's lawyer sounds as bad as him. A chip right off the old block. Heated arguments with the judge, calling people names with attached implications(money grubbing) and last, staing he would make a witness eat his words.

Raucci isn't a flight risk. If he gets out he will get revenge and the judge and the DA are smart enough to see that. Being held without bail isn't unconsitutional. It is a legal right the state and the federal government have, IF they have just cause. Anyone that doesn't seee the just cause must be blind. Like Caney said, he has 3 counts that are on par with triple homicide.

July 17, 2009
9:02 a.m.
Rick says...

Concerned1 -

Not many stories about you? That would depend on who one asked. If you worked in the same place for 38 years and were the boss, I’m sure there would be legends about you, too. And some of them would be from people who hated your guts.

Now we hear that the ‘victims’ have brought suit. What better way to get a settlement than to have the alleged perpetrator found guilty, thanks to your testimony. No conflict of interest or ethics issues there?

The DA is still peddling the tale about the defendant being suicidal, but Raucci was never evaluated by a Psychiatrist or on a suicide watch.

The DNA was found at only one scene and it has never been challenged. OJ’s DNA was supposed to be a match, too. Wait ‘til it comes out that the victim with the unexploded firecracker was in the defendant’s office the day that the police were notified, when they had access to an ashtray of his butts.

Sure, the guy may be guilty and we know he was an overbearing pain to some, but what if his accusers are, too? This whole mess could be the clashing of a bunch of pains and heaping the blame for many of the incidents on the wrong guy. If it turns out that they have a history of being abrasive, their behavior might have prompted others to key their car or slash their tires, which they immediately ‘knew’ was done by their arch enemy.

The victims have been anonymous, making it hard for the defense to investigate them and find people who know them. If he is remaining in jail, the secrecy is no longer necessary and the public should get to see what they look like. That could cause an outpouring of witnesses that want to testify that they ‘did the guy’s ride’ because he ‘acted like a teacher.’ What a Perry Mason conclusion that would be.

So much for fanciful speculation, but how is this guy going to get a fair trial? If the commentators here are representative of the jury pool, he’s finished before the trial even begins.

July 17, 2009
9:09 a.m.
lireecy says...

Rick, there is one point to which I have to agree. If they are going to hold him without bail then bring out the names and let the definse do his legal cross exam so this case can get under way.

July 17, 2009
9:29 a.m.
voices_heard2 says...

rick...give it a break...let the lawyers do what they have to do...you talk alot of garbage that doesn't make any sense...where are you getting your facts from??? and none of your comments would justify how an individual would have the right to destroy people's personal and private property...this guy deserves to be EXACTLY where he is...i have yet to hear one positive comment about this raucci character...so stop trying to paint him as an upstanding citizen...he's far from it...if you want to do him a favor, buy hime a new wig!

July 17, 2009
9:39 a.m.
uzreason says...

Hold him on the "scumbag with a bad rug" charge!

July 17, 2009
9:54 a.m.
Concerned1 says...

Rick -

Not sure where you work or live BUT, Legends? Are you kidding me? Grabbing genitals, leaving explosive devices (and having them in his desk at work), wrecking cars, harrassment... These are not legends, these are crimes and if they happened to you I imagine you'd be singing a different tune.

You speak of conflict of interest or ethics issues regarding lawsuits by the victims but fail to mention those things when speaking of Raucci and/or the Schenectady School Board. We see each day more proof that everyone knew... Yes, this is clearly the bar that our ethics should be measured against.

Don't really know if Raucci is suicidal or if he was evaluated by a Psychiatrist. I also don't know if the victims had access to his office and his DNA from cigarettes but you seem to have no issue creating a conspiracy of the victims while dismissing one against Raucci and his cohorts. Why is that?

Are you of the mindset that being "abrasive" deserves being the target of a crime - having tires slashed, cars keyed, etc? This makes sense to you?

The victims are anonymous because they are VICTIMS. The courts allow this because they are trying to protect them. You would wish to be anonymous as well should you be the victim of a crime. If he stays in jail then, I agree, as the trial unfolds the victims should be known but only if he stays in jail. He's still trying for bail so, you can't have it both ways. If he's denied again and there are no more appeals then sure list the victims names but not before.

You're concerned about a fair trial but list all of these issues from DNA "stealing" to how minimal this guys behavior is. You then say that the media is biased, again, Rick, don't know who you are but could the media create this sort of a story about you? Remember that a fair trial doesn't mean that a criminal gets away - it just means that ALL of the facts are delivered to the Judge and Jury. If the evidence is weak I guess we'll find out but, I think ALL of the facts have yet to surface.

By the way OJ was/is GUILTY.

Have a nice day.

July 17, 2009
10:25 a.m.
insidescsd says...

Did everyone read Strock's article which quotes directly from the handwritten notes Stricos created at the meetings years ago regarding Raucci's conduct?

If not, we could post some direct quotes here if you like.

The article best serves the "get rid of Stricos" argument, but also gives evidence to the argument that the administration and members of the school board knew about Raucci's conduct long before the arrest.

July 17, 2009
11:08 a.m.
angelamacvilla says...

Yes, please post some of Strock's article.

July 17, 2009
11:24 a.m.
voices_heard2 says...
(This comment was removed by the site staff.)
July 17, 2009
11:24 a.m.
voices_heard2 says...
(This comment was removed by the site staff.)
July 17, 2009
11:35 a.m.
insidescsd says...
(This comment was removed by the site staff.)
July 17, 2009
11:42 a.m.
insidescsd says...

It would appear the Gazette doesn't like Strock's article reprinted here. That's kind of disappointing, Gazette.

So we're going to post some direct quotes from Stricos' handwritten notes, with liberties taken on Strock's notations so as not to upset the Gazette staff again:

phone conversation "w/ Steve," on April 26. 2005, Stricos wrote, "If I can make Hal and Debbie's life miserable – that is what I'm going to do."

quoting Raucci at a staff meeting as "we don't want any [vulgar name for person] around here" and then "called Debbie a [crass name for female body part] and Hal a [crude word for excrement] -- then distributed work papers"

In reference to whether or not Stricos knew about the vandalism to the Gray's house on April 30th/May 1st... "w/e 4/30-5/1 - parents house spray painted? Aware of incident"

Aware of incident, huh, Stricos? Wanna revamp your testimony? And here's another in regards to Raucci's drive-bys.

"Drive by-- Steve Raucci [plus illegible name] ... Guys were in shop, Steve asked them to go up to see the damage. 3 vans-- drove by."

Stricos was one of the employees granted a hasty contract extension until 2011 by Janiszewski and his board, voting 5-2.

July 17, 2009
11:44 a.m.
insidescsd says...

Note Gazette staff: I changed Strock's words, and kept only the documented quotes of Stricos. This should not fall under TOS for removal by site staff as it is information already made public and direct quotes of Stricos' notes.

July 17, 2009
11:44 a.m.
voices_heard2 says...
(This comment was removed by the site staff.)
July 17, 2009
11:55 a.m.
voices_heard2 says...

it won't allow me to post the rest of the article...is it actually the gazette staff that suggested removal or a raucci supporter??

July 17, 2009
12:21 p.m.
idean says...

Carl Strock's column is available in the print edition of The Daily Gazette. We do not make it available on dailygazette.com. Please do not copy and paste his column here as part of your comments.

Thank you,
Irv Dean
Gazette city editor

July 17, 2009
12:27 p.m.
voices_heard2 says...

that's fine...my apologies...for those who would like to read the AMAZING article by mr. carl strock...it's available in the thursday, july 16th edition on the first page of the local section...enjoy this GREAT read...

July 17, 2009
12:46 p.m.
artvandalay says...

The $100/hr internal Jiffy Jeffy whitewash, that the City taxpayers paid for-WILL NOT BE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC. Another new low from the Schenectady School Board. Jiffy Jeffy promised us a "comprehensive, open investigation"? What we got was more overpriced CYA. They all knew from before 2005. Stricos knew got a promotion and big raise from Board members Russo, Jiffy Jeffy and Casino. Stricos must be fired at the next meeting. The other 3 stooges must resign in disgrace.

Where is Maxine Brisport? Come out of hiding and start firing those that knew and looked the other way. Still everyone employed? Keep reading Carl Strock. He will win a Pulitizer Prize for his excellent reporting on the growing Raucci conspiracy.

July 17, 2009
1:12 p.m.
voices_heard2 says...

oh absolutely agreed about strock...this is one of many highly informative articles providing raucci insight and great detail of unfolding events...truly excellent reporting! we could only hope that others would view this vastly corruptive saga as it is and remove the rose-colored glasses already...

July 17, 2009
10:06 p.m.
medic_sean426 says...

Gee, why would Raucci be denied bail? Hmm... maybe because he's charged with terrorism? Why should he be granted yet another opportunity to threaten innocent people? He shouldn' be allowed to face the witnesses on the stand - he's made it quite clear he has no problem threatening physical harm to get his way. He's no better than any other terrorist, except that luckily, no one has yet been physically harmed by his actions - though not by any careful planning on his part. He's shown no remorse, and has in fact stated he's not sorry at all. Should he get bail, who wants to lay odds he'll do it again? The man is pure evil. He's selfish and violent. He had his chance to live a life of freedom - he blew it. Quite literally. Why do we feel that Arab terrorists should be shot, but Raucci deserves to go free? How is he better? Just because he's not quite as adept at actually killing the people he threatened to do exactly that to, doesn't mean his intentions weren't just as evil. The DA is absolutely right - the charges hold the same weight as multiple murder charges, and should be treated as such. Raucci deserves his day in court, just like any other American - he doesn't NOT deserve to be free to cause more harm while awaiting this trial. He can aid in his defense just as capably from a prison cell - and hey, we the taxpayers will even be paying for his accomodations, and the very books he can use to set up his legal defense! That's the American way - criminals get the rights, victims get the shaft!

July 17, 2009
10:12 p.m.
medic_sean426 says...

As I sit here reading these responses to the article, all I can think is "Let the conspiracy theories begin!" Yes, that's right. The entire state of New York woke up one day, yawned, ate breakfast, and said "Hell, we've got nothing to do the next few weeks - let's spend thousands of tax payer dollars to set up this schumck Steve Raucci!" Oh wait, that's right...WE'RE not the ones there's solid evidence against for setting incediary devices to get our way or get revenge. Who was that again? Oh, right. Steve Raucci. But, nah, he's not a terrorist. It's all just a conspiracy. We have people all over - in the police department, in the DNA labs, in the DA's office, the judges...everywhere. We also all got together and shot JFK, MLK and John Lennon. And we faked the moon landing. We're really THAT good. You conspiracy nuts make my brain sad.

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