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What you need to know for 01/19/2018

Review upholds denial of bail for Raucci

Review upholds denial of bail for Raucci

Steven Raucci was turned back again Thursday morning in his latest attempt to get bail.

Steven Raucci was turned back again Thursday morning in his latest attempt to get bail.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Richard Giardino found that a lower court was proper in denying Raucci bail.

Giardino found that the entire case showed that acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye properly ordered Raucci held without bail.

“A review of the entire record fails to establish Judge Hoye abused her discretion in denying bail in this matter,” Giardino ruled.

Giardino noted the three top-level felonies against Raucci, which included terrorism, and alleged threats made by Raucci to witnesses in making his decision.

Raucci’s attorney, Ronald DeAngelus, asked for the review after the lower court ordered bail be denied.

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.

DeAngelus said later he was disappointed with the results. He expected to meet with Raucci’s family this weekend to decide whether to appeal the case further.

The decision was 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.

Raucci is accused of placing incendiary devices at four homes 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.

The allegations against Raucci have also spawned seven lawsuits or attempted lawsuits against the city school district, where Raucci worked for decades.

Two of the seven are believed to be among the witnesses who were questioned by Hoye before she rendered her decision.

Carney submitted affidavits and other documents in support of his original motion to have Raucci held without bail. The identities of the witnesses were withheld.

DeAngelus argued that he should have been able to cross-examine the witnesses. He also argued that Hoye improperly cited danger to the community and alleged threats by Raucci to himself and others as reasons to hold Raucci.

In his ruling Thursday, Giardino noted that Hoye cited the potential lawsuits in her ruling. The references to suicide and threats to others were properly considered because they spoke to Raucci’s character.

Giardino also wrote that even without the citation of danger to the community, Raucci is still facing three top-level felonies. Hoye could have reached the same conclusion without including the reference, Giardino wrote.

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