A Massachusetts teenager caught with a loaded gun while driving a stolen car was acquitted by a Manhattan judge — despite prosecutors seeking bail over the suspect’s extensive “foreign relations,” The Post has learned.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge John Zhuo Wang let 18-year-old Jaquan Gilliard run in a supervised acquittal on Monday’s indictment on felony charges including second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Gilliard was the passenger in the back of the stolen 2014 Toyota Camry his cousin was driving – which the couple planned to take from Massachusetts to South Carolina – when they were arrested Sunday at West 101st Street and Columbus Avenue, according to the criminal charges against him.
A black semi-automatic pistol was found under the floorboards of the backseat, and Gilliard later allegedly admitted the gun was his, prosecutors said.
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Alvin Bragg said that although it was the teenager’s first arrest, prosecutors sought $20,000 bail, citing the nature of the crime and arguing that the defendant’s out-of-state relationship made it unlikely he would return to court “alone.” .”
But Wang rejected the request, granting Gilliard a supervised release until his next court date on September 2, a DA spokesman confirmed. Lawyer information was not immediately available to Gilliard.
A police officer who has worked for two decades criticized Wang’s decision, calling him “Judge Letemgo.”
“You really think he’s going back to New York to get his gun case?” said the policeman.
Gilliard’s cousin, 24-year-old Harold Milton, was charged separately Tuesday under a different criminal court judge, who set bail at $3,500 or $7,500, the prosecutor’s office said.
That is well below the $25,000 bail requested by prosecutors during the trial before Judge Soma Syed.
A spokesman for the Office of the Administrative Court said that while many factors influence a judge’s decision, under New York state law, “a bail is solely intended to ensure the defendant’s return to court. No longer.”
“Our criminal justice reform laws tend to oppose pretrial detention and give judges who indict narrowly discretion, even on serious crimes offences, while requiring them to consider the least restrictive form of pretrial detention and if the amount of money is determined – that it is within the limits of the defendant’s ability to comply,” Lucian Chalfen said in a statement.
Gilliard and Milton, who will also return to court on September 2, face criminal charges of gun possession and criminal possession of stolen property, respectively.