High bail set in Dorchester dragging case

A Dorchester Municipal Court judge today set bail at $100,000 each for two men charged with dragging a third man a half mile down Gallivan Boulevard with their car at speeds of up to 50 m.p.h. Friday night.

In front of a courtroom filled with the victim's relatives and friends - one of whom was ejected for loudly demanding the defendants show their faces, rather than hide behind a door - Judge Lisa Grant agreed to the bail request from a prosecutor on the charge of unarmed robbery for an incident Friday night.

The victim is now on life support, WHDH reports.

Through their attorneys, both Kenneth Ford, 23, of Roxbury, and Dejon Barnes, 18, formerly of Dorchester but now of Worcester, declared their innocence for the critical, life threatening injuries suffered by an 18-year-old who thought he was meeting somebody to sell his iPhone.

Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Amy Martin said the arranged, via a friend who knew a friend of Barnes, to sell his iPhone for $600. The victim and two friends walked over to a meeting place on Gallivan Boulevard Friday night. Ford pulled up in a silver, four-door Ford sedan with Florida plates, with Barnes in the passenger seat, she said.

Barnes rolled down his window and he and the victim showed him the phone, but Barnes began questioning whether it was a real phone or too badly scratched to buy. Still, she continued, Barnes then opened the glove compartment, as if to reach for money. But, instead, she said, he grabbed the phone out of the victim's hand, then rolled the window up, trapping the victim's arm.

And then, the prosecutor said, Ford hit the gas and sped off down Gallivan towards Morton Street - dragging the trapped victim outside for a half mile, until he finally fell away near Nevada Street, where witnesses saw him and called 911. Martin said EMTs got to the scene first and didn't wait for troopers to arrive before rushing him to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

At this point in her recitation of the case against the two, one of the victim's relatives or friends yelled "Fucking coward! Show your face!" A court officer escorted him from the courtroom.

Martin said investigators traced the pair to a party on Phillips Street in the West End early Sunday - and found the silver Ford sedan parked outside.

Even if Ford were able to make bail, he would remain behind bars, because Grant revoked his bail on an outstanding case out of Middlesex County on a charge of possession of a class B drug with intent to distribute.

Barnes has no criminal record in Massachusetts.

Barnes' attorney, Jeffrey Chapdelaine, requested bail of just $1,000 and a condition he stay out of Boston until his case is resolved. He noted his client has a clean Massachusetts record and that he has been forced to assume many of the responsibilities as father to his two younger brother since his family moved to Worcester last year.

Ford's attorney sought bail of $5,000, saying he was born and raised in Boston and has family here. He said that while the victim's injuries are "a serious situation," his client was only charged with unarmed robbery.

State Police say the two could yet face additional charges.

After Grant set bail of $100,000 for each man, and revoked Ford's bail on the Middlesex case, the victim's supporters in the courtroom broke into applause.

Grant said a Dec. 4 date for the next hearing in the case.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

Bail guidelines?

By on

How is bail usually set in a court hearing?

It’s definitely a terrible crime, and they will definitely be on trial.
But is the bail so high because they’re a flight risk?
Or due to the barbaric and suddenness of the attack?
Or because of the public outcry and the judge feels peer pressure?
So they’ll stay behind bars until trial?

I’m genuinely ignorant about bail guidelines. Are they arbitrary, or are there check-boxes that add up to a certain level?

The primary purpose of bail ..

By on

Is to ensure the defendant keeps showing up in court.

But just how much that bail depends on a number of factors (at least in Massachusetts; I have no clue about other states or federal courts)

A key factor is, yes, the severity of the crime, on the theory that the more serious the potential penalty, the more likely a defendant is likely to make a run for it. So in Massachusetts, murder defendants just don't get bail, because the nature of the potential sentence is such that a rational defendant might think it would be worth it to try to run. In contrast, somebody arrested for, oh, driving with a suspended license, is less likely to run and, all other thigs being equal, will not only get bail, but a relatively low amount, possibly even personal recognizance, or whatever they posted to get out of jail after their arrest (which is like $140 or so).

Part of an arraignment hearing is for the judge to decide bail. Both sides make their case. The prosecution will point to the horribleness of the crime and the defendant's past criminal record - especially if he or she has defaulted on past appearances. The defense attorney will focus on the defendant's ties to the community - and to the vast array of local relatives they have, especially if they are all sitting in the courtroom - as proof the person isn't likely to flee. Having to support a family will also come up, as will the poverty, if any, of the defendant and his family (as in this case, where the attorneys argued that the families could not possibly come up with $100,000).

After the lawyers make their arguments, the judge decides on bail. If the defendant doesn't like the amount, he can appeal to Superior Court for a review.

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