I supposed I have to weigh in on John Halacy, the Rensselaer guy charged with sexually assaulting two young teenage girls who was sprung from jail because of a procedural error by an assistant in the office of District Attorney Rich McNally.
Some background: A defendant is afforded a right to a speedy trial, which means prosecutors are required to take some sort of action within 90 days unless the defendant waives that right while the two sides try to work out a deal. In Halacy’s case, there was evidently a verbal agreement to waive the provision but it was never formally filed. As such, both felonies were dismissed and they can’t be brought again thanks to double jeopardy. Halacy walked out of jail basically a free man. Yes, he is facing new, but lesser, charges and is looking at a year in jail rather than decades.
It’s not a flattering way for McNally to exit the office he’s held for six years. As you know, he was elected to the Supreme Court and will don the robes on Jan. 1.
A couple things. McNally told The Record it was the first time such an incident has happened and I have no reason to believe the reporter got it wrong so I’m going on the premise McNally said it. But, I know it has happened before and I dare say more than once. To be fair, the exact quote is it’s the first time it has “come up with this particular team in my administration” so technically he might be right, but in reality it’s a misleading statement at best.
He also said the ADA in charge of the case, Laura Kruegler, is a “fairly new” ADA, but I know for a fact she has been there since Patricia DeAngelis’s tenure. Kruegler’s Facebook page says she started in the DA’s office in 2000, a long time for an attorney to work in any DA’s office since private practice is where they make the big bucks.
She has, though, had some health issues to navigate and McNally is correct in saying that the ADA’s are swamped and that he’s been repeatedly denied requested help. That was in response to a letter by the Republican majority on the county Legislature looking for answers regarding what happened in the Halacy case - a legitimate request, and one that is infinitely more substantial than patting the Hoosick Falls volleyball team on the back for coming in third place.
McNally has had a tough go of things as DA, maybe even a tougher than his two Republican predecessors … and that’s saying something.
While nobody suspected it at the time, his 2007 election was brought into question during the 2009 voter fraud scandal. Former City Clerk Bill McInerney testified to forging hundreds of absentee applications and ballots in 2007 and 2009. And McInerney worked for McNally in 2007 when the race went to the absentees.
Then, once taking office in 2008, he allowed a grand jury hearing evidence regarding political extortion charges against Democratic Party Chairman Tom Wade to expire without finishing the job by issuing an indictment or a no bill. It just expired.
Then, according to court room testimony and his own admission, McNally had a conversation with McInerney (photo to the right) about which attorney the latter should hire after he was charged in the voter fraud scandal. That conversation came after McNally recused himself. It was never pursued but it smacks of a conflict of interest.
Then, McNally failed to recuse himself in a DWI case brought against Wade’s daughter after Wade was instrumental in getting him elected in 2007 and again in 2011. The disposition of the case might not have been out of the norm, but the appearance of impropriety is certainly ugly.
Now, we have a man who skates on charges of sexually assaulting a 13 and a 14-year old girl.
One of the teen’s moms, obviously upset with how things went, said she is out for some street justice. I can’t condone it, but I can’t say I blame her either. She certainly didn’t get any justice here.