Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013 5:00 pm | Updated: 10:17 am, Tue Jan 15, 2013.

By MARK TOOR
 

The head of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association expressed outrage last week over the $2-million bail set by a Criminal Court Judge for a CO charged with shooting his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.

“Never in my 20-plus years in law enforcement have I ever seen or witnessed such an outrageous miscarriage of justice in administering bail for someone accused of a crime who is a law-enforcement officer, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the State of New York,” said COBA President Norman Seabrook.

Wants Cuomo Involved

He called for action from Governor Cuomo, State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

Dale Moore, 32, who has worked for the Department of Correction for four years, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault after the shooting, which occurred while he was off-duty around 1 p.m. Jan. 8 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Some news reports characterized the situation as a love triangle.

Mr. Moore was riding in a Mercedes with his girlfriend, Correction Capt. Shalonda Smith, 36, when they encountered her former boyfriend, Kai Gates, 34, in his Cadillac SUV, according to reports. All three got out of their cars. A law-enforcement source told the New York Post that Mr. Moore warned Mr. Gates, “Don’t come any closer!” When he continued to move forward, Mr. Moore allegedly shot him twice. Authorities said Mr. Gates was unarmed. He remained hospitalized last week.

Correction Officers are permitted to carry guns but may not wear them in the jails.

Judge Sharen D. Hudson set bail at Mr. Moore’s arraignment. She was elected to Kings County Civil Court in 2011. Under the law, bail is not supposed to be a punishment for the accusation of a crime, but merely a way of ensuring that the defendant shows up in court.


Why It’s Excessive

Mr. Seabrook noted that Mr. Moore had “no criminal history, no criminal convictions, has ties to the community, was born and bred here and is authorized under the Constitution of the State of New York to possess a weapon and to protect himself after dealing with some of the most-violent individuals in the jail system, acting in self-defense and fearing for the security of his life and everyone around him.”

“A typical bail in these circumstances would be around $100,000,” said Michelle Esquenazi, president of the New York Association of Bail Bond Agents. She said that to get out of jail on $2 million bail a defendant would have to pay a bail bondsman a non-refundable fee of $150,000.

Mr. Seabrook said, “Every single day we witness these teenage terrorists who hold our communities, families and friends hostage with their illegal weapons and their disregard for public safety, including Correction Officers, EMS officers and you, the public. Yet the bail amount for these terrorists is set at a minimal amount of money, thereby enabling them to continue to destroy our city... If you count all the dead, innocent children who have been shot by their assailants in the city over the last year, those bail amounts don’t add up to $2 million.”


Calls for Special Judge

He called for Judge Hudson to be reprimanded. But that’s not all, he said, adding, “We are calling on Governor Cuomo and Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to appoint an independent judge to deal with any further cases involving law-enforcement officers.”

David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration, responded, “That suggestion implies that somehow law-enforcement officers should get special treatment when charged with a crime. The concept simply doesn’t make sense.”

Mr. Seabrook continued, “I’m also calling on DA Charles J. Hynes to re-evaluate the Assistant District Attorneys in his office on cases where Correction Officers are allegedly accused of a crime.”

Mr. Hynes responded, “In all cases involving homicide we oppose bail and request a remand. In this case when the defendant was arraigned, the unarmed victim, who according to three witnesses was shot twice by the defendant, was not expected to live. Our application for remand under these circumstances was completely appropriate. Judge Hudson refused our request and set $2-million bail.

“We have been informed that the victim’s condition has changed and he is likely to live. I would assume that the defendant’s attorney will make an application to review the bail conditions and at that time we will take a position on bail that we deem appropriate.”

 

UPDATE: New Judge Cuts Bail to $150,000

A second judge reduced bail for Correction Officer Dale Moore from $2 million to $150,000. More than 60 members of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association showed up in the courtroom at the hearing Jan. 11 to demonstrate support for Mr. Moore.

“This was the right decision that Kings County State Supreme Court Judge Sheryl L. Parker ordered in this matter,” COBA President Norman Seabrook said after the ruling. “As you have often heard me say—and it is an indisputable fact—even accused terrorists do not get slapped with a $2-million bail. This should never have happened in the first place.”

He commended Justice Parker for “her reasonable approach to the law” and thanked Mr. Moore’s attorney, Steven Isaacs of Koehler and Isaacs.