CARS HOMES JOBS

Chase ends in capture of drug suspect mistakenly freed

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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— The Schenectady drug defendant mistakenly released from the Albany County Jail last month is now back in custody after a brief police chase early Wednesday, authorities said.

Jermaine Green, 42, who was driving without a license, fled police at high speed for about a half mile but stopped on his own and was arrested, police said.

No one was injured in the brief chase, but police in court papers indicated that the flight put other vehicles in danger. Among the charges related to the chase is unlawfully fleeing a police officer, a misdemeanor.

The incident ended nearly a month of accidental freedom for Green. He was released from the Albany County Jail on Dec. 23 after posting bail on charges there — five days after a Schenectady County Court judge had ordered him held without bail on a new drug indictment.

Schenectady County sheriff’s and court officials attributed the release to Albany County misreading a form that ordered Green held, though Albany County sheriff’s officials dispute that. Schenectady County Undersheriff Gordon Pollard vowed to emphasize the “hold” message on paperwork in future cases by stamping the word “hold” on documents.

The mistaken release was discovered last week, and Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago gave Green’s defense until Wednesday morning to find him and bring him in. She did not issue an arrest warrant but said she would if Green didn’t show up in court Wednesday.

When the time came Wednesday morning, Green wasn’t there. Drago asked defense attorney Lauren Mack if she had made contact with Green. Mack indicated that she did and said one of her investigators had just called her, informing her that Green was in custody in Schenectady City Court.

“There may be some new charges,” Mack told the court. “I don’t have the details on that right now.”

Drago called City Court directly from the bench, ordering officials there to hold Green in his County Court drug case.

Drago then informed Mack that she would consider bail in the case, but Mack would have to submit a formal bail application. Defendants who are indicted, like Green, are generally held without bail until a bail application is made. In Green’s case, he was inadvertently released before that could happen.

“Until I have a bail application, he’s held without bail,” Drago said.

Bail decisions are also made considering the defendant’s history, whether he has complied with court and police orders in the past and whether he has been rearrested while free in previous cases.

The accusations that Green fled police came just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. That’s when city police Officer Albert Rivera tried to pull over Green at the corner of Chrisler Avenue and Pearl Street for a license plate light being out, authorities said.

He responded by speeding down Pearl Street onto Crane Street before stopping on Sixth Avenue, about half a mile away.

Green ultimately was charged with unlawfully fleeing a police officer, reckless driving and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, misdemeanors. He also got several traffic tickets.

He remained at the Schenectady County Jail Wednesday evening.

 
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