Legal Analysis on Bail Issues for Suspect in Niagara County Amber Alert Case

WGRZ 2 On Your Side recently reported on bail issues involving a man from Niagara County who was arrested for abducting a 17-year-old girl. WGRZ’s Ron Plants interviewed attorney Barry Covert to provide legal analysis for the story.

In an earlier story, WGRZ 2 On Your Side reported on an Amber Alert that was issued for a 17-year-old girl from North Tonawanda. Law enforcement found the girl in the state of Pennsylvania and a suspect, Michael D. Mesko, was arrested in the matter.

As a follow-up to the Amber Alert story, WGRZ reported that Michael D. Mesko was released from jail on a second degree rape charge just days before allegedly abducting a 17-yer-old girl in North Tonawanda. For legal analysis on this story; attorney Barry Covert was asked to address issues involving why the suspect was set free, the District Attorney’s rationale for skipping a preliminary hearing in sexual abuse cases, and the impact of New York State’s new bail reform law.

Continuing reading for Barry Covert’s comments and click here for WGRZ’s full story.

Barry Covert first provided comment on the decision of the Niagara County District Attorney’s office to not have a preliminary hearing regarding the second degree rape charge in this matter. Mr. Covert stated “There’s a great preference in any serious felony case to not run a preliminary hearing and allowing your opponents, the defense attorneys, to have two bites at the apple by being able to cross-examine witnesses at the proceeding and then prepare for trial. And especially in sex abuse cases, there’s a desire to not have the victims testify on multiple occasions, each occasion is difficult enough.”

Regarding how bail was set in this matter, Mr. Covert explained “Under the new bail reform act, there’s a great preference to allow individuals, defendants, who do not have a history of failing to appear in court, to have a low bail or no bail in order to allow them to be released and not be unnecessarily incarcerated.”

If you would like to contact Barry Covert for any additional information, click here.