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Bronx judge who let migrant squatters go free with no bail released suspects who beat up cop

Bronx Criminal Court Judge Eugene Bowen, a Democrat, set loose six suspected migrant squatters without bail after their arrest on weapons and drugs charges.

The Bronx judge who set loose six suspected migrant squatters arrested on drugs and weapons charges last week previously released two men who beat up a police officer. 

Bronx Criminal Court Judge Eugene Bowen, a Democrat elected in 2023, released the six men against the wishes of prosecutors. One of the migrants, Hector Desousa-Villalta, 24, of Venezuela, had been arrested in August on attempted murder charges before the case fell apart. 

Prosecutors had asked to hold Desousa-Villalta on $150,000 cash bail. But Bowen instead released him and five others without bail — and it's not the first time he's provoked controversy by doing so.

In November, Bowen was the subject of a scathing New York Post editorial that blasted his decision to set free two men who were caught on video beating up a cop. The officer had asked the men to put out their cigarettes at the Freeman Street subway station, according to the NYPD.

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Kaream McClary, 23, and Izayiah Jessamy, 20, were arrested on assault charges for allegedly beating up Officer John Hernandez, the Post reported. Prosecutors requested bail set at $10,000 or $30,000 bond, but Judge Bowen released them without bail, court records showed. 

At the time, the decision provoked outrage from Patrick Hendry, the president of the Police Benevolent Association union

"This shows the absolutely upside down world we’re living in," Hendry said in a statement to the Post. 

"We need New Yorkers to start speaking up and demanding real consequences for those who assault cops," he said. "Our streets and subways won’t be safe if the cops protecting them aren’t safe."

READ MORE OF FOX NEWS' COVERAGE OF THE BORDER CRISIS

Bowen was elected to the Civil Court of New York in 2022 and has served on the bench for a little more than a year. He was designated a judge on the Criminal Court of the City of New York, Bronx County, by Acting Chief Administrative Judge Tamiko Amaker in 2023. Prior to winning the election, Bowen was a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2010. 

"As a public defender with The Legal Aid Society of NYC, I fought tirelessly for my clients in trial courtrooms in every borough of NYC, and in the New York State appellate courts," Bowen wrote in a survey for Ballotpedia.org. "I won dismissals of hundreds of cases, reversals of convictions obtained unlawfully, and I negotiated countless favorable dispositions that spared my clients jail, onerous probation or parole requirements, and the potential loss of employment, immigration status, parental rights or housing." 

"Most importantly, I made certain that my clients’ voices and concerns were heard, and their rights respected and protected," he wrote.

The eight migrants who appeared before Bowen last week were all charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and acting in a manner injurious to a child, police said. A 7-year-old child was found living in the home with the group.

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The New York Police Department released photos of four guns, ammunition and bags of cocaine and ketamine that they found after officers were called last Wednesday to a multi-dwelling house for reports of a person with a gun.

Police said that when they arrived on the scene, they saw Desousa-Villalta pointing a gun outside the premises. The officers chased and tackled Desousa-Villalta as another man, Javier Alborno, 22, also of Venezuela, tried to flee the scene with a handgun tucked under his arm, but officers cuffed him.

Police confiscated the weapons. 

Desousa-Villalta was let go on supervised release even though the Bronx District Attorney’s Office told Fox News it requested his bail be set at $150,000 cash or $450,000 bond. He was previously arrested in an attempted murder incident in August 2023, when he is alleged to have shot a fellow migrant in the leg during an argument over a woman in Yonkers.

SUSPECTED MIGRANT SQUATTERS FOUND IN NYC APARTMENT WITH CHILD FACE GUN, DRUG CHARGES

Alborno is being held after his bail was set at $100,000 cash — prosecutors had called for it to be set at $150,000.

Also being held is 31-year-old Miquel Vaamondes-Barrios after his bail was set at $25,000. He is wanted for retail theft and shoplifting in both New York and Pennsylvania, according to police. 

It is unclear why Barrios and Alborno were being held while the remaining migrants were let go on no-cash bail. 

The remaining migrants released included one woman, 20-year-old Yoessy Pino Castillo, as well as Yerbin Lozado-Munoz, 25, Yojairo Martinez, 42, Jefferson Orlando Abreau, 39, and Johan Cardenas Silva, 35.

All eight are reportedly accused of possessing the drugs with the intent to sell them.

Former Assistant U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy, a Fox News contributor, said the judge's soft-on-crime approach is not surprising given how New York elects lower court judges.

"In New York City, these elections tend to be low-turnout and dominated by progressive Democrats," McCarthy told Fox News Digital. He observed that the same constituency elected District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a progressive reformer who has been repeatedly criticized for downgrading felony cases to misdemeanors. 

"Progressive Democrats in New York City are the principal drivers of sanctuary city and criminal justice ‘reform’ policies," McCarthy said. "Under the former, the city prohibits NYPD from cooperating with the feds in immigration case. Under the latter, serious criminals are routinely released instantly after arrest — New York is the only state in the country that does not permit judges to detain people pretrial on evidence that they pose a danger to the community." 

"This is why crime is up and quality of life is down in the city," he added.

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