Lawyer for man accused of double shooting that killed one, argues for his release on a technicality

Accused Killer in Court

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – For a moment, it looked like the man accused of a murder and a second shooting outside the transit center on St. Paul Street last week was going to get out of jail on a technicality.

By noon, Jamel Robinson was kept in jail and the grand jury voted to indict him on at least one felony. But in court, his lawyer said Robinson should get out because he didn’t get a hearing by a deadline.

A 10 o’clock Monday morning in county court, Jamel Robinson’s lawyer laid out the argument. Robinson was arrested last Tuesday morning. That started the legal clock ticking. The district attorney’s office had exactly 144 hours to have Robinson’s first hearing. 

He was arraigned Wednesday morning and because the DA’s office says it wanted to give Robinson time to meet with his lawyer and consider testifying to the grand jury, there was no hearing that day. On Thursday and Friday, the grand jury was off for Thanksgiving. Then it was the weekend.

So, the hearing was scheduled for Monday afternoon. But by 8:30 Monday morning, the 144 hour deadline was up and Robinson’s lawyer said he should get out.

“It’s not six days. It’s literally measured in hours,” attorney John Bradley said to County Court Judge Michael Dollinger. “So I think there is no dispute at this point that they are too late at this point.”

The DA’s office said they asked the court for a “good cause” delay because they wanted to give Robinson the time to consider his options. The DA’s says the only option for a hearing was Wednesday.

“And that would have been the same day of the arraignment and the same day he met his attorney,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Sunderland told the court.

Bradley had a rebuttal — Robinson’s hearing could have been heard on Friday.

“They haven’t shown any good cause because the good cause they have to show is why a preliminary hearing couldn’t have been done within the 144 hours. And nothing they have said has answered that question because the answer is – they don’t want to,” Bradley said. “That’s the sole answer. There is nothing that prevented them from doing this hearing in 144 hours. They just chose not to. That’s not good cause. That’s a strategic error on their part.”

Judge Dollinger kicked the case back to city court. Robinson grumbled on his way out.

“Everybody doesn’t know how to protect my rights,” he said as he walked out of the courtroom and past our camera.

One hour later, in city court, Robinson’s lawyer argued again that Robinson should get out. The DA’s office said again that they applied for the so-called “good cause” delay. Rochester City Court Judge Melissa Barrett agreed and kept Robinson in jail.

“So I’m going to deny your request to release Mr. Robinson today Mr. Bradley,” Judge Barrett said.

Prosecutor Sunderland gave the court a certification that the grand jury voted to indict Robinson on at least one felony. The grand jury vote happened at 10:02am Monday. Because of the grand jury vote, the city court no longer has jurisdiction on the case.

Brean: “Was there ever a moment this morning when you were nervous that Robinson would get released?”

Sunderland: “There’s always concern. There was a bail application this morning at 9:30 a.m. and it would be up to the judge to review the city court’s decision. We believe we were supported by the law and we were truly trying to do the right thing. This was a situation where at the time of the arraignment, actually before arraignment, we reached out to Judge Barrett who was presiding over this to try to get ahead of this.”

The next time we see Robinson will be in county or supreme court, where he will be arraigned on whatever charges the grand jury indicts him on.