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What you need to know for 03/20/2018

Judge denies McCracken's request to dismiss charges

Judge denies McCracken's request to dismiss charges

A jury trial conference is slated for March 27
Judge denies McCracken's request to dismiss charges
Mark MCracken leaves City Court with his girlfriend on Jan. 31, following a hearing regarding charges against the police officer
Photographer: Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer

SCHENECTADY -- City Court Judge Mark Caruso on Tuesday denied police Officer Mark McCracken’s motion to dismiss charges against him.

In denying the motion, Caruso ruled the charges were not supported only by “hearsay” information.

After ruling on the motion, a jury trial conference, in which attorneys are able to discuss resolutions to a case, was scheduled for March 27. Caruso said the matter could go to trial as early as the week after that conference, in the absence of a resolution.

Rebecca Bauscher, McCracken’s attorney, asked for the charges to be dismissed during a Jan. 31 court appearance. Following Caruso's decision on Monday, she said the charges against McCracken still should have been dismissed.

Assistant District Attorney Kyle Petit said on Tuesday that his office offered McCracken an offer of adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. That would have allowed the charge against McCracken to be dismissed after a year if he remained arrest-free during that time period.

Bauscher said they turned down that offer because it came with a condition that McCracken agree to a no-contact order of protection with his estranged wife, Cassie Walker, for a year. Bauscher said that essentially would put him in the same place he was before he was arrested for allegedly violating the order of custody and visitation.

"Apparently, police see him being in close proximity [to Walker] as violating an order, when he was allowed to be at the same game," Bauscher said.

Bauscher added that if McCracken did have an order of protection against him, he wouldn't be able to have his firearm on him when he wasn't on the clock. He would have to leave his gun at the Police Department.

"When he's done nothing wrong, it's very hard for someone to come in and say, 'Take away all these rights from me,'" Bauscher said.

McCracken refused to comment on the case Tuesday, but he did say he has returned from sick leave for a broken thumb and was back in the rotation as a police officer. A bandage was visible on his right thumb in court on Tuesday.

McCracken was charged with second-degree criminal contempt in January after allegedly violating an order of custody and visitation. Walker accused him of violating the order when he came in “close physical proximity” to her during their son’s hockey game at a Union College hockey rink on Jan. 7.

Walker and McCracken are going through a divorce.

McCracken was placed on administrative leave after his arrest. It was revealed publicly last week that McCracken is no longer on administrative leave and was demoted from lieutenant to patrol officer.

Disciplinary proceedings regarding McCracken’s recent arrest were resolved without a hearing, according to city Public Safety Commissioner Michael Eidens.

The department would not say whether McCracken’s recent legal issues were the cause of his demotion.

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