Jose Carranza has been arrested and charged with three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, four counts of robbery, two weapons offenses and one count of conspiracy. He is one of six suspects arrested for the brutal murders of three young people in Newark, N.J. on August 4. Carranza is an illegal alien who was out on bail at the time of the murders. The question is why?
Last October, police charged him with aggravated assault and other counts in connection with a bar fight in West Orange. Then, earlier this year, he was charged in a 31-count indictment with repeatedly raping a young girl. He was out on bail in both cases at the time of the killings in Newark.
A retired Superior Court judge, Arthur N. D'Italia, is investigating why he was free on bail. The Newark state Attorney General's office is also conducting an investigation. It is outrageous an illegal alien charged with rape would be eligible for release at all but in Carranza's case, his bail, initially set at $300,000, was inexplicably dropped to $150,000 by Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena:
Earlier yesterday, state Senate President Richard Codey sharply criticized Vena's decision to lower the bail from $300,000 and said he asked state Attorney General Anne Milgram to investigate what happened.
"It is our understanding that Jose Carranza's bail was reduced from $300,000 to $150,000 as a unilateral decision by the judge, without allowing any input from the prosecutor's office, which is simply unacceptable," Codey said in a statement.
A chronology released by the office of Essex County Assignment Judge Patricia Costello said the bail was lowered with the consent of Margarita Rivera, the assistant Essex County prosecutor handling the sexual assault case. The prosecutor's office said Friday -- and repeated in a statement yesterday -- that it never gave such consent.
Carranza, a laborer who lived in Orange with his wife and other family members and allegedly has ties to a street gang known as MS-13, was arrested by Orange police on sexual assault charges on Jan. 17. He was accused of having sexual relations with a young girl beginning in 2003, when she was 5.
Superior Court Judge John Kennedy set bail at $150,000 on Jan. 29, which the defendant posted on Feb. 7 with a bond from Martell Bail Bonds in Paterson, according to court records.
On Feb. 21, 2007, Newark police filed new sexual assault charges against Carranza, involving the same girl, who lived in Newark. He was arrested on the new charges on May 3, 2007, and Judge Michael Ravin the following day set bail at $300,000. At that point, he was being held on $450,000 bail, $150,000 of which he had already posted.
What is at the center of the controversy was Vena's decision on May 17 to cut the $300,000 bail in half and consolidate it with the other $150,000 bail, since the two cases were being merged into one. Since Carranza had already posted $150,000, he was released from the Essex County jail without putting up any new bail money.
Vena was on vacation on May 17 but stopped in the office and signed the bail reduction in chambers without either the prosecution or defense present, court and county prosecutor's office officials said. Vena based his decision partly on discussions that took place between Rivera and defense attorney Felix Lopez-Montalvo in Vena's office on May 10, while Vena was on vacation, the officials said.
Lenient judges, sanctuary cities, and illegal alien apologists are destroying our country, destroying human beings. Somehow the rule of law goes out the window when it comes to illegals and when a tragedy such as this happens, the finger pointing begins. The investigations should reveal the truth in this situation, but however it turns out, there's enough blame to go around and it's too little, too late for Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, and Iofemi Hightower.