A Baltimore man whose bail had been set at $10,000 after he was accused of kidnapping a 3-year-old boy was ordered held without bail yesterday.
Bruce Allen Green, 29, is charged with kidnapping and battery for allegedly taking the boy from a playground at the Parkside Garden Apartments in Northeast Baltimore shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday. The boy was about a half-block away before his mother and several neighbors were able stop the man who abducted him and wrestle the boy away from him.
After his arrest, Mr. Green went before District Court Commissioner Sylvia A. Veney Saturday night, who ordered him held on $10,000 bail. With the aid of a bail bondsman, most of whom require that clients pay them 10 percent of the bail in cash, Mr. Green could have been released for as little as $1,000.
"It seemed low to a lot of people," said Assistant State's Attorney Peter Saar. "It seemed low to the judge at the bail review. It seemed low to the state's attorney's office as well."
But he said it is not uncommon for the state's attorney's office to have a difference of opinion with court commissioners regarding bail.
Mr. Saar said that members of the state's attorney's office do not always attend the bail review hearings but that he made sure he was at yesterday morning's hearing to argue that Mr. Green be held without bail.
District Judge Carol E. Smith said that she was persuaded by Mr. Saar's argument that Mr. Green should not receive bail because of the nature of the crime he is accused of, his prior record and the fact that he was convicted twice before for failing to appear for court dates.
But she would not comment on whether she thought the previous bail was too low.
Ms. Veney could not be reached for comment last night. In the Initial Appearance Report, she cited the following reasons for setting bail at $10,000: the nature of the evidence, the potential sentence for the crime charged, Mr. Green's prior record of failing to appear for court hearings, his prior conviction bearing on risk of failing to appear in this case, and the fact that he is currently on probation.
According to court records, Mr. Green is on probation for theft, battery and resisting arrest.
The Pre-trial Services Department, which makes a bail recommendation before the review hearing, asked for a bail of $100,000 based on Mr. Green's prior record and his failure-to-appear convictions.
Mr. Saar speculated that the first bail commissioner may have lacked some information on the defendant's background. She may have decided the abduction was because of a domestic quarrel rather than a complaint against a total stranger, he said. He said commissioners sometimes are also influenced by especially eloquent defendants.
"I'm not exactly sure what she based her decision on," Mr. Saar said.