An Island Park woman whose four arrests since Jan. 1 sparked criticism of New York State's new bail reform law was sentenced by a Nassau judge Tuesday to 10 days in jail for criminal contempt of court.
Nassau County prosecutors asked Judge Helene Gugerty to order Maria Campione, 20, held for contempt because she failed to get an electronic monitoring device as ordered by a court after a Jan. 1 arrest.
“It is ridiculous,” Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Tuesday before Judge Helene Gugerty sentenced Campione after a hearing in Mineola. “It’s like a revolving door. Every time she gets out she gets arrested again.”
Campione presented a danger to herself and the public, Gugerty said, ordering her back to court Thursday.
Ryder said he supports Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers' statements that during the upcoming legislative session they will revisit the law, which eliminates cash bail for defendants facing misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
“I know Albany is listening,” Ryder said. “I know there will be a fix.”
Campione was arraigned Thursday on charges of burglary, criminal mischief and falsely reporting an incident after she allegedly smashed a window at Hewlett Elementary School on Jan. 1, ran through the halls and pulled a fire alarm, causing firefighters to respond to a false alarm.
After her arraignment, Campione was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and go immediately to the Nassau County Probation Department in Mineola to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device. A probation official testified at Tuesday’s hearing that Campione did not appear at their office as directed by the court.
“She willfully disobeyed a court order,” Gugerty said during Tuesday’s hearing.
Campione's defense attorney, Adam Neal of Mineola, argued in court that probation officials had not provided enough assistance or information for Campione to travel from her arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead to the Nassau County Probation Department office in Mineola.
Neal said his client has a history of mental illness. Prosecutors said they will provide her with mental health care and other services while she is in custody.
“She is obviously a person we need to assist and get her in the system,” Ryder said. “Unfortunately, in this case, we didn’t help her.”
Neal said he was not sure if the Nassau County Jail is the best place for Campione to receive help.
“I don’t know if the county is equipped to treat people with severe mental illness in general,” Neal said. “I don’t know what the solution is for her specifically. I don’t think jail is going to fix it but obviously being out on her own had repercussions as well.”
Campione had been held on $25,000 bail since October on burglary and other charges. She was released on no bail Dec. 31 as a result of the new bail reform law.
Police said Campione was caught one day later, on Jan. 1, scrawling graffiti on a bank building. She was given a desk appearance ticket to appear in court at a later date. Hours later, Campione was taken into custody after allegedly breaking into the school and pulling the fire alarm.
“Somebody could have been killed responding to that fire,” Ryder said.
Campione was arrested and charged with attempted grand larceny after she broke into a car Friday in Rockville Centre, Ryder said.
Nassau police say Campione was arrested yet again, after she entered a 7-Eleven on Park Avenue in Wantagh on Monday and removed a beer from a refrigerated case. A store employee who has had numerous interactions with Campione took the beer and asked her to leave.
After exiting, Campione picked up a rock and threw it through the window of the 7-Eleven, police said.