YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office vowed to appeal the bail a judge’s granted ex-Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa while he fights a five-year sentence handed him today for whisking his then-girlfriend from a crash scene and filing a bogus insurance claim afterward.
“Many defendants argue for bail pending appeal but this request is rarely granted even when the sentence is substantially less than five years,” reads a statement issued this afternoon.
“This ruling sets a difficult precedent for this office to distinguish in future cases, especially where defendants with less severe sentences than that imposed upon this defendant will argue for bail pending appeal,” it adds.
“For this reason, it is the State’s intention to file an appeal with the Appellate Division so that this Court’s decision today does not create an untenable precedent for the thousands of cases handled by this office.”
The statement also said that the office is appealing State Superior Court Judge Joseph Conte’s ruling last week to partially overturn Zisa’s conviction. The judge expressed concerns about the evidence presented during the trial, including some testimony.
The statement was issued by the office and not by Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, who recused himself from Zisa’s case.
In allowing the $50,000 bail, Conte said Zisa posed no risk of flight or threat to the community. Conditions include a monitoring bracelet and regular drug tests.
Defense lawyer Patricia Prezioso asked for probation, saying Zisa had made a mistake not unlike others in which officials helped others in need. She also cited his time in public service.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Daniel Keitel wanted 13 years behind bars — and for the sentences to run consecutively. He called what Zisa did “a betrayal of public trust” and “the reason people distrust public officials.”
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