Back in May 2010 James Fulford scolded me for having told an anecdote about Judge Wright without mentioning that he was black.
His obituaries, both in the New York Times and Jet Magazine, make it clear that his “experience of racism” was his motive for turning criminals loose on bail whether they dangerous or not, and whether they could give any security or not.Judge Wright was released from this terrestrial realm on his own recognizance in 2005, but his spirit lives on . . . in his son.
The son of famously lenient Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Bruce Wright — nicknamed “Cut ’Em Loose Bruce” for setting low bails on violent criminals — appears to be picking up where his dad left off.So it's true: the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, not at any rate in the Big Apple orchard.
Manhattan Civil Justice Geoffrey Wright, 66, who fills in at criminal court about once a year, was on the bench Sept. 7, when two brothers, busted with a cache of guns and drugs, were arraigned.
Eric Johnson, 48, went before Wright, while his brother Lance Johnson, 36, saw Judge Abena Darkeh.
Although he had a lengthier rap sheet than his sibling, Wright set bail at a paltry $500 for Eric, while Darkeh smacked Lance with a more standard $60,000 bond, court records show.
The lowball figure came despite Manhattan prosecutor Hannah Yu’s request to set Eric Johnson’s bail at $100,000. “The defendant is a violent predicate felon,” she told him. “He has multiple firearm convictions on his record as well as multiple aliases and has bench warranted on at least one case.”
The prosecutor told the judge, who is the brother of Assemblyman Keith Wright, that cops executed a search warrant on Sept. 5 at the brothers’ pad at 50 Stuyvesant Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant and seized three guns, a bulletproof vest, three boxes of hollow-point bullets, 140 rounds of ammunition, and over 30 bags of crack cocaine and marijuana, according to the complaint.
Defense lawyer Sergio De La Pava urged Wright to release Eric without bail.
“Five hundred dollars cash or bond,” ruled Wright, who has become known for setting stunningly low bails, to the great annoyance of prosecutors, many of whom would like to see him barred from criminal court, a source said.
Eric posted bail, and at his next court appearance, on Sept. 11, another judge, Richard Weinberg, jacked up the bail to $75,000, and he was immediately taken into custody.
Wright’s father once released a man who shot and seriously wounded a cop during a holdup of a Manhattan steakhouse on $500 bail.
In another example of his soft spot for defendants with lengthy rap sheets, on Sept. 7, ex-con Ricardo Moya was arraigned before Wright on drug possession charges and prosecutors asked for $50,000 bail.
Moya, who is homeless and has six felony convictions, which include bail jumping, child molestation and burglary, got a $100 bail from Wright.
Wright did not immediately return a call for comment. [Judge continues dad’s legacy of setting stunningly low bails by Rebecca Rosenberg; New York Post, Sept. 28 2015.]
Note that little detail about the judge being not only the son of "Turn 'em loose Bruce" but also the brother of New York State Assemblyman Keith Wright, who, according to Wikipedia, hasn't had a job outside politics since he was 28 years old. (He's now 60.)