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Bail in manslaughter case causes controversy
SARATOGA COUNTY-- Eleven days after being sent to prison, following a manslaughter conviction, Traci Briskin is back home after a judge granted her bail.
An Appellate Court judge granted Briskin bail while her attorney plans a formal appeal in her case. Briskin paid $75,000 bail to be able to sit home, instead of prison, while her appeal plays out.
Briskin was convicted of manslaughter after she caused a crash on Route 67 and Jockey Street, in Charlton, in November of 2012. Thomas baker died after his car was hit by Briskin's. She was sentenced to 2 1/2 years to 7 1/2 years in prison.
However, after serving just 11 days Briskin is back home.
Saratoga County District Attorney, James Murphy, said Friday his office was upset over the judge's decision to let Briskin free. Based on overwhelming evidence, an admission, and a jury conviction Briskin should have stayed in prison while the appeal plays out, Murphy said.
"The proof showed she (Traci Briskin) was driving while ability impaired. She was driving at a high rate of speed, she crossed the center line several times, she crossed the fog line (and) she said herself she took her eyes off the road for 30 seconds", said Murphy.
Attorney Paul DerOhannesian says judges have the right to grant bail for people convicted of crimes that are not Class A felonies under state law. While most people who appeal their cases sit in prison while they wait, it is not uncommon for a judge to grant bail under certain circumstances.
The judge often takes into consideration prior history of a defendant, said DerOhannesian.
The appeal process could take up to a year, in some cases a year and a half, added Murphy.
"That is the part for me that is so frustrating as a DA to have to deal with that emotion again to try to explain to families why the system doesn't function the way they want it to," said DA Murphy.