Schenectady County

Raucci’s bail appeal moved up

Steven Raucci will get to make his case for bail to the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Cour

Steven Raucci will get to make his case for bail to the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court — sooner rather than later.

The Appellate Division this week accepted Raucci’s bid for his bail case to be given preference, setting arguments for October.

The decision moves up what can be a six month or longer wait for arguments before the appeals court.

Raucci attorney Ronald DeAngelus Thursday noted that the longer the appeals process plays out, the closer the criminal case gets to trial and the more the bail issue becomes moot.

DeAngelus is expected to argue that lower courts misapplied the law when deciding to hold Raucci without bail pending trial.

DeAngelus reiterated Thursday that he believes the bail issue has implications beyond Raucci’s situation.

“I believe this will wind up being one of the leading cases on bail and whether you have the right to confront opposition witnesses,” DeAngelus said.

Raucci, then the director of facilities for the Schenectady schools, was first arrested Feb. 20 on an arson count. Counts against him have since multiplied to more than two dozen, including another serious arson count and a charge of terrorism.

Raucci, 60, of Niskayuna, is accused of placing explosive devices at four houses around the Capital Region. Two of the devices exploded, but no one was injured. 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.

Many of the alleged victims had ties to the school district or the CSEA union. Raucci was head of Local 847.

The criminal court ordered Raucci held without bail. Raucci appealed that action to the state Supreme Court in Schenectady County, arguing last month that the first judge was arbitrary in her decision denying bail.

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.

The state Supreme Court justice upheld the lower court’s ruling, prompting the appeal to the Appellate Division.

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

Carney agreed Thursday that the case was an appropriate case for preference, given the time constraints.

But, he said, he expected to make the same arguments to the Appellate Division as were made to the lower courts.

“We think we have valid arguments, and we’ll be happy to make them to the Appellate Division,” Carney said.

Raucci remains held at the Schenectady County Jail without bail.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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