Updated 03/15/2013 06:29 PM
Why was David Renz released?
The name of David Renz was immediately familiar to one group of law enforcement officials. Officials in the federal system had arrested Renz earlier this year. YNN's Bill Carey says an order to allow Renz to remain free is drawing some criticism, but it's criticism that legal experts say is unwarranted.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- In his affidavit, an FBI agent made it clear that David Renz had admitted to being a collector of child pornography. A search of his computer turned up more than 500 video files and another 3,000 images that violate federal law.
Yet when he was brought to court in January, a federal magistrate, Andrew Baxter, agreed to release Renz prior to facing trial.
While, in hindsight, there may be questions about David Renz's release by federal authorities, most attorneys say looking at the facts in the case, there was little doubt that he would be released.
Prominent Syracuse criminal attorney Emil Rossi says there is no cause to fault the federal magistrate in this case.
Rossi said, “If you look at the record, you will find that this particular judge is a great judge. He's not just a good judge, he's a great judge. He's brilliant. And he was, for years, I think since 1987, he was a firm and tough prosecutor.”
Rossi argues that federal guidelines almost guaranteed some release in the Renz case, but that Magistrate Baxter took the additional step of imposing restrictions on Renz., steps that included a curfew and electronic surveillance.
U.S. Marshals say Renz cut away his tracking device to make his escape Thursday night.
There is likely to be some recriminations about Renz being allowed to go free after his child pornography arrest. Rossi, though, says it all comes down to the bedrock tenet of U.S. law, the presumption of innocence.
“The inferences that are set forth in the law are all inferences that say, release him. When somebody is nothing more than a citizen charged with a crime, incarceration is not the first, but the last option,” Rossi said.
In most cases, such releases are without incident. This case, considered rare, has ended much differently.
David Renz was back in federal court Friday to answer to charges of violating his pre-trial release agreement by removing his electronic bracelet.
Marshals were alerted to the tampering at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, just an hour before Renz was reported in State Police custody. A federal magistrate has now revoked the pre-trial release and ordered Renz held in federal custody.
His attorneys say Renz was assaulted while in the Onondaga County Justice Center, not by police, but by another inmate. They asked that he be held in protective custody.