A New York judge has come under fire for releasing a convicted killer without bail after he was arrested for hiding a gun after a recent shooting that left one person injured.
Judge Jeanine Johnson freed Shakeil Chandler, 32, who served eight years in prison for manslaughter, after he was charged with weapons possession in connection to the October 4 gun shooting in the Bronx.
Chandler, an alleged member of the Crips, was placed under arrest by cops who had responded to an electronic ‘ShotSpotter’ reporting bullets fired and found a group of people, including one who was shot, about 1.50am in the Soundview section of the borough, reports the New York Post.
Johnson was the former general counsel to then-Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright.
Wright, leader of the Manhattan Democratic Party since 2009, last year was accused of clearing the way for Johnson to run for her judgeship.
‘There was a selection panel of one person, Keith Wright. And no one was allowed to run against her’, longtime Manhattan Democrat Alan Flacks told the Post.
Judge Jeanine Johnson (above) freed Shakeil Chandler, 32, who served eight-years in prison for manslaughter, after he was charged with weapons possession in connection to the October 4 gun shooting in the Bronx
Shakeil Chandler (pictured), is an alleged member of the Crips who was arrested after cops responded to bullets fired and found a group of people, including one who was shot, about 1.50am. on October 4 in the Soundview section of the Bronx
Wright is also alleged to have helped Johnson after a June 2014 arrest, where cops say they saw her drive away erratically after leaving a Harlem bar around 4am.
She allegedly refused police orders to get out of the car, dropped Wright’s name and threatened to call top leaders at the NYPD brass. Her blood alcohol tested at 0.113 after she took a Breathalyzer test, which was over the 0.08 legal limit.
A letter from Wright to a judge at the time described Johnson as an ‘indispensable member’ of his staff. She later agreed to a plea deal that reduced her charge to driving while ability impaired.
The 32-year-old victim of the October 4 shooting, who is from Connecticut, refused to cooperate with law enforcement, and Chandler allegedly seen kicking a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver under a car, the sources told the Post.
Cops charged Chandler with three counts of weapon and firearm possession. A gun was ‘in his custody and control, on the ground near [his] foot’, according to a criminal complaint.
Prosecutors wanted Chandler, who appeared in court later that day, held on a $75,000 bond, but Johnson decided instead to release the convict who had plead guilty in 2009 to the slaying of 16-year-old Mario Young in Far Rockaway, Queens, three years earlier.
The judge said she was acting on a recommendation made by the New York City Criminal Justice Agency, a nonprofit city contractor. She also noted Chandler had ‘full custody of his child,’ according to court records seen by the Post.
‘It appears that she followed the recommendation of the pre-trial services agency which evaluated the defendant and obviously, in her estimation, she agreed with their assessment,’ said a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration.
Law-enforcement sources responded with outrage, including one source who said Chandler ‘has not been reformed’.
‘He is hanging out at 2am and there is a shooting. He is a threat to society,’ the source said.
‘By releasing him on the streets, the judge is threatening the community and protecting a killer’, said another source.
Johnson did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday, reports the Post. Her mother also told the news outlet that she was out of town.
Johnson was the former general counsel to then-Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright (pictured). Wright, leader of the Manhattan Democratic Party since 2009, last year was accused of clearing the way for Johnson to run for her judgeship