2 convicted in 'gay-bashing' win battle over bail Men are released as judge is overruled

July 16, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Two Dundalk men jailed to await sentencing for their roles in a brawl described as a "gay-bashing" were ordered released yesterday after a ruling that a judge violated the law by attempting to override another judge who had authorized bail for the men.

Orders authorizing the release of James A. Randolph, 24, and Matthew T. Randolph, 22, followed a series of hearings this week in which the brothers, who were convicted of assault for their roles in a fight outside a bar in Southeast Baltimore, were granted bail, only to see it revoked.

The Randolph brothers prevailed, however, in the Court of Special Appeals, where they obtained an order striking down the most recent attempt by Baltimore Circuit Judge Kenneth Lavon Johnson to see them held without bail until their scheduled sentencing on Sept. 9, according to court records.

"It's just very, very strange that one judge would not obey another judge's order," Donald Daneman, the men's lawyer, said yesterday.

The brothers, along with co-defendant Anthony M. Ambrosino Jr., were convicted by a jury June 25 for their roles in a fight outside Numbers, a Canton bar with a predominantly gay clientele.

Judge Johnson, who had presided over the trial, called the men liars and "three, in my view, very dangerous individuals," and ordered them held pending sentencing.

On Monday, the three men appeared in court to ask Baltimore Circuit Judge Ellen M. Heller to set bail.

Mr. Daneman said the men presented a petition with 2,500 signatures urging their release on bail.

Judge Heller did not set bail for Ambrosino, 22, who faces the possibility of three life terms after being found guilty of three counts of attempted first-degree murder for running down three men as he drove past the bar.

But she set bail at $33,000 for the Randolph brothers. "The judge felt they were entitled to a bail because they were convicted of simple assault and battery," Mr. Daneman said.

Later Monday, however, Judge Johnson issued an order revoking the bails set by Judge Heller.

Mr. Daneman complained that Judge Johnson did not conduct a hearing on the matter until Tuesday.

"That's really wonderful," the defense lawyer said sarcastically yesterday.

On Wednesday, responding to a motion filed by Mr. Daneman, Judge Charles E. Moylan Jr. of the Court of Special Appeals ruled that Judge Johnson's order to revoke the men's bail should be "vacated."

Yesterday, friends and relatives of the men posted property and a bail bondsman posted cash to obtain an order for their release.

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