Government watchdog Judicial Watch on Wednesday pulled back the curtain on a state scheme in Massachusetts in which bail commissioners receive $40 each time a suspect walks.
But the system notoriously failed in the case of Mickey Rivera, who already was facing pending accessory to murder charges for armed robbery murder. Rivera was granted reduced bail even though he had been implicated in a home invasion robbery in which two women were stabbed, Judicial Watch said.
After his release, Rivera “was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, which should have resulted in bail revocation involving the felony charges,” the report said.
Judicial Watch said that instead, an assistant prosecutor in the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office in Cape Cod released Rivera on “personal recognizance,” the records show.
Weeks later he killed a Marine while trying to flee police in Mashpee because he was driving high on booze and drugs.
Judicial Watch said the “disturbing” incident took place in a system that “allows violent criminals with lengthy rap sheets – including murderers, domestic abusers and drunk drivers – to be released on bail to commit more crimes.”
The system, the report said, “can easily be described as criminal.”
The bail commissioners, often people with no legal background, are paid to determine if an arrested individual should go free.
“If the defendant goes free on bail, the commissioner gets $40 for going to the courthouse and doing the paperwork and the commissioner only gets paid if the perpetrator is released. That means there’s a financial incentive to get people back on the street,” Judicial Watch said.
The commissioners include retired teachers, carpenters, couriers and high school guidance counselors.
They’re assigned to consider factors such as criminal records and risk of fleeing.
But “in some instances, defendants with shocking criminal histories are released on their own recognizance, which is allowed under Massachusetts code.”
The organization cited the case of Rivera, who triggered a fatal crash in Cape Cod while driving high.
“After leading police on a high-speed chase, Rivera hit another vehicle head on, killing the driver, a 32-year-old Marine combat veteran on his way home from visiting his wife and newborn daughter in the hospital. Rivera and his passenger, a 24-year-old mother, were ejected and both were also killed,” Judicial Watch said.
It cited the pending accessory to murder charges and his being implicated in the home invasion robbery.
“The name of the incompetent prosecutor who released Rivera on his own recognizance – rather than revoke his bail – was redacted in the records provided to Judicial Watch by the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office,” Judicial Watch said.
“District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, an elected official, called Judicial Watch to express outrage that it requested the assistant prosecutor’s identity. The information was never provided, but Judicial Watch obtained the identity of the bail commissioner who got Rivera released from the Barnstable Court clerk.
“His name is Charles P. Andrade, a veteran attorney who moonlights as a bail commissioner. Bail records show that on June 3, 2018, Andrade collected a $40 fee for helping Rivera go free after getting busted driving high and drunk, despite pending felony charges. About a month later Rivera killed the Marine and a young mother.”