Schenectady County

Raucci trial scheduled to begin on March 1

Steven Raucci could face trial on terrorism and arson charges as early as March 1, attorneys involve
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Steven Raucci could face trial on terrorism and arson charges as early as March 1, attorneys involved in the case said Tuesday.

Raucci’s attorney, Ronald DeAngelus, was notified Monday that the long-awaited trial is scheduled to begin on that day in Schenectady County Court.

However, jury or other issues could still prevent the case from starting that day, court officials said.

Still to be seen is how extensive pre-trial publicity will affect the case.

DeAngelus said Tuesday that he is still undecided on whether he will seek to move the trial outside of Schenectady County. A decision in favor of seeking a change of venue could push back the trial.

Another issue that could change the trial date is the jury pool itself. Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said Tuesday that it is expected that 600 potential jurors could be put on notice to appear. The number is more than normal, Carney said, but he couldn’t say by how much.

Those notices must be out by Feb. 10 to meet a March 1 trial date.

Carney on Tuesday declined to speculate how pre-trial publicity might factor into finding a jury.

Raucci, 61, of Niskayuna, is accused of placing explosive devices at four houses around the Capital Region, including in Rotterdam and Schodack. 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 and damaging paint or windshields. One family reported their car being vandalized five times.

Many of the individuals had ties to the Schenectady City School District or the CSEA union. Raucci was head of Local 847 of the union as well as facilities director for the school district.

Raucci has remained in custody for more than 11 months.

The case has garnered extensive pre-trial media coverage, helped along by a protracted bail fight, lawsuits, attempted lawsuits and open questions related to whether anyone at the school district knew of Raucci’s alleged deeds. Carney has alleged that higher-ups at the district were beholden to Raucci.

All of that has been on top of the regular pre-trial hearings and motions in the criminal case.

The bail issue also might factor into the trial. DeAngelus said Tuesday he is awaiting confirmation on which judge will preside over the trial. If that judge is Polly Hoye, DeAngelus said he would want to enquire on her position related to her involvement in the bail proceedings.

Hoye presided over the decision on whether to grant Raucci bail. In deciding the issue, she spoke directly with five witnesses in chambers.

Jury selection itself likely wouldn’t even begin that day. Last-minute pre-trial hearings, including on what, if any, prior uncharged “bad acts” could be included in the trial, would be held.

Those hearings are sometimes held the week before but often are held the morning the trial would begin.

Opening statements would come after the jury was selected. Carney has said the trial is expected to last a month.

Categories: Schenectady County

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