Rape defendant out on bond pending trial
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An Allegheny County judge Thursday allowed a man awaiting trial on rape charges to remain out on bond because he has remained trouble-free for the last 21/2 years.
David Bradford, whose case was thrown out by Judge Randal B. Todd but reinstated last week by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, has been working at a restaurant in Wilkinsburg and hasn't had any trouble with law enforcement since his release in December 2009, his attorney, Kevin Abramowitz, said.
Because of that, Judge Todd said, he should remain free.
The Allegheny County district attorney's office made a motion to revoke bond after the Supreme Court issued its opinion last week.
"Based on his history and the current nature of the charges, he should be held without bond to keep the community safe," said Deputy District Attorney Simquita Bridges.
Judge Todd disagreed.
"He's complied," he said. "I have a defendant who's been out in the community for 21/2 years. I think he can remain out."
Judge Todd originally released Mr. Bradford in November 2009 after it came to light that the man had been held at the Allegheny County Jail for more than a year without going to trial.
Under Pennsylvania Rule 600, a defendant in custody must be brought to trial within 180 days. Mr. Bradford had a preliminary hearing in the case, but after that, it appears that his paperwork was lost between the magisterial court and Common Pleas Court.
He was unable to make his $100,000 bond and sat in jail for a year.
Judge Todd issued an opinion in which he said the DA's office failed to exercise "due diligence" in the handling of Mr. Bradford's case, leading to the delay. The state Superior Court upheld that decision in a 2-1 opinion issued in August 2010 criticizing the prosecution for failing to have a record-keeping system in place.
But in a 5-1 decision last week, the state Supreme Court ruled that the district attorney's office did show due diligence and that the slip-up in the case should be blamed on the magistrate court.
Mr. Bradford is charged with rape, kidnapping and related charges stemming from a September 2008 attack in Wilkinsburg.
Judge Todd seemed to disagree with the appellate court's decision, saying that it was clear that a supervisor in the prosecutor's office was responsible for the delay in Mr. Bradford's case.
"What bothers me most about this case ... This isn't a retail theft or a misdemeanor," he said. "This is felony rape charges."
He criticized the prosecution for failing to keep track of the case.
First Published June 8, 2012 12:00 am