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Woman accused in robbery of 84-year-old in Rotterdam now accused in similar Schenectady theft

Woman accused in robbery of 84-year-old in Rotterdam now accused in similar Schenectady theft

Accused appeared in court Monday
Woman accused in robbery of 84-year-old in Rotterdam now accused in similar Schenectady theft
Casey Buckley exiting the courthouse elevator, left, and in court with her attorney Daniel Ciarmiello, right
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ/Staff PHOTOGRAPHER

SCHENECTADY — The woman accused of shoving an 84-year-old woman and stealing her purse outside a Rotterdam grocery store is now accused of a similar crime in Schenectady.

Casey L. Buckley, 38, appeared in court Monday on the new Schenectady charges and remains in custody. But she could be released soon under conditions pending trial in both cases.

While scheduled for a court appearance in Rotterdam on Tuesday, Buckley could be granted bail once her court-appointed attorney for those charges formally files a bail application with the court.

In the Schenectady case, authorities allege Buckley, 38, “forcibly” stole a wallet containing two credit cards and other personal items from a victim under the age of 40 in the Price Chopper/Market 32 parking lot on Eastern Avenue on Feb. 2. 

The next day, in Rotterdam, she is accused of pushing an 84-year-old woman in the parking lot of the Price Chopper on Altamont Avenue and taking her purse before leaving in a car driven by an accomplice, who was also charged in connection with the incident, authorities have said. 

She faces third-degree robbery and fourth-degree grand larceny, both felonies, in the Schenectady case and second-degree robbery and other charges in the Rotterdam case. 

Both charges fall under state’s new bail reform laws which scrapped cash bail for misdemeanors and most non-violent felonies and some violent crimes. 

While Buckley would ordinarily be released under the new guidelines, she was sent back into custody to face the charges in Rotterdam. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday in Rotterdam Town Court. 

Buckley has been in custody since her arrest last Wednesday at the McClellan Street address she shared with her alleged Rotterdam accomplice, Jonah D. Isolda, because of two prior felony convictions. Isolda, 32, faces charges in the Rotterdam case. He was arraigned, released and turned over to Colonie police on a warrant there, police said last week.

A search of the residence after her arrest uncovered property belonging to the victim, police said.

Buckley’s court-appointed attorney, Daniel Ciarmiello, asked for no post-release conditions and a nominal $1 bail on Monday to ensure Buckley will be credited for time served on those charges. 

Judge Matthew Sypniewski acknowledged the new bail guidelines, but said Buckley posed a flight risk.

He granted a series of conditions sought by prosecutors, including a one-year temporary order of protection against the victim. Buckley will also be required to check in daily with county probation office, refrain from drug and alcohol use and abide by a curfew. 

Buckley has at least two prior felony and five misdemeanor convictions and has failed to appear at two previous court appearances, Assistant District Attorney Christina Tremante-Pelham said. 

Buckley is also facing two open bench warrants on petty larceny charges in Colonie and in Onondaga County, leading to what Tremante-Pelham said were "serious concerns" about her release.

“Her history of following orders is quite poor,” said Tremante-Pelham, who also said Buckley had "thin ties" to the area. 

Second-degree robbery is classified as a violent felony, but is one of the carve-outs exempted in the legislation, Carney said.

Since implementation on Jan. 1, the reforms have been controversial: Law enforcement officials and prosecutors contend releasing those charged with serious crimes without bail presents a threat to public safety, while advocates claim the legislation will ensure a more equitable criminal justice system. 

Carney said Buckley's case presents a test to the system: “Will she appear, and will she be crime-free?” he asked.

Statutes of the new law also conflict with each other, Carney said. With two felony convictions, suspects can be kept custody when arraigned in town or city court, but not in superior courts. 

“It’s complicated, and the laws are at cross purposes,” he said. 

And while the law mandates "vigorous" services, Carney said the county is struggling with resources. 

If freed on Tuesday after her Rotterdam court appearance, it’s unlikely Buckley will be outfitted with an ankle bracelet, he said, because those are generally reserved for sex offenders.

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