November 28, 2016 04:56 PM
A judge that found guilty of defrauding taxpayers has been allowed to go home.
So far, he has spent just eight days of a six month sentence in jail. Just last week, we told you former Waterloo Village Justice Roger Barto was sentenced.
He made international headlines in 2013 after claiming he was attacked outside court with a toilet tank lid. He was convicted of fraud after testimony revealed he was not injured yet accepted thousands of dollars from a taxpayer-funded workers compensation program to pay for medical bills.
Last week, when he arrived at court, Roger Barto was facing a possible sentence of up to seven years in prison. Instead, the judge sentenced him to six months of jail time. However, on Wednesday, after just eight days behind bars, Barto was set free after Appellate Judge Stephen Lindley ordered him released pending the appeal of his conviction. Barto's attorney had argued the sentence was excessive and also cited his client's medical issues.
Brett Davidsen: "Was it surprising at all to you?"
District Attorney Barry Porsch: "A little bit. I haven't had a stay application be granted in six years that I've been district attorney."
Waterloo resident William O'Hora said, "Well, I wondered why, and it's a little absurd sounding to me."
"I think he should have waited in jail for his appeal," said Eleanor Burnett. "I don't know why they would let him out."
Reached by phone Thursday, Lindley declined comment because the case is still pending. In the meantime, Barto appears to have received another favorable ruling. He was facing two additional misdemeanor charges. Those were related to allegations he stole gasoline while working as the caretaker of the village cemetery. But County Court Judge Dennis Bender dismissed the charges. The district attorney says he still doesn't know why.
"I'm going to appeal that to the appellate division and try to get those re-instated," said Porsch. "I don't know the basis for the dismissal."
We also couldn't get an explanation. Judge Bender did not return our phone calls. We went to Barto's home hoping to speak with him about his release, but no one answered the door. The district attorney says he hopes residents aren't frustrated by how the Barto case has played out.
"We need the public to support us in what we're doing and I hope they don't have a negative view of the system after this," said Porsch.
Barto was ordered to make restitution of the $41,000. He has already done that.
Brett Davidsen - whec_@bdavidsen
Updated: November 28, 2016 04:56 PM
Created: October 22, 2015 06:35 PM
Copyright 2016 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company