If you have been arrested and accused of a serious criminal offense, then any prior convictions on your record could factor into a judge's decision to keep you incarcerated up until your trial. Prosecutors often argue in favor of keeping defendants imprisoned, even if not all of the relevant facts of the case have been considered.
More than a month ago, we discussed the case of a college student who was accused of possessing a weapon of mass destruction in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The 18-year-old, who is a Russian national, is facing federal charges, and prosecutors have successfully argued in favor of holding the young man in jail until his trial date.
Initially, the federal judge hearing the case ruled that the student, who was arrested on Jan. 24, should be released on bond while the case progresses to trial.
However, the prosecution appealed that decision, bringing up the fact that the defendant was on juvenile probation at the time of his arrest. The probation reportedly stemmed from an alleged trespassing incident in California, where the young man formerly resided.
Federal prosecutors argued that the probation violation, in conjunction with allegations that the defendant grew marijuana in his Altoona apartment, warranted keeping him incarcerated. The California probation is reportedly similar to Pennsylvania's accelerated rehabilitation program, whereby an individual who completes probation can have his or her arrest record expunged.
The charges against the defendant in this case are very serious. To learn more about federal arson and explosives charges, please visit our criminal defense website.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Federal judge: Russian-born college to remain jailed in central Pa. bomb case," March 1, 2014