Questions About Lawson’s Bail
Lawson was arraigned and held on $1,000 bail. He promptly posted that and returned to Ontario, Canada.
Another man, Jordan Apps, 35 and also of Ontario, Canada, was also arrested after that concert. Apps was charged with Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree for punching out the window of a vehicle. He was held in custody on $20,000 bail.
Sources familiar with each investigation indicate that Apps was not with Lawson that night. They also tell 13WHAM News that while Apps has a prior criminal history, none was found for Lawson.
But why the drastically different bail amounts given each situation?
"There are so many things that go into making a bail determination by a court and I don't know enough about the circumstances of either of the cases that you're mentioning that I could really say what the reason would be,” Genesee County District Attorney Larry Friedman explained. "The bail determination is made based on a number of factors but the bottom-line is the likelihood of the person returning to court when they're supposed to so it is not just the offense or the level of offense, the court looks at the person. Do they own a home? Do they have a family? Do they have a job? Do they have a criminal history? There are a lot of things that are looked at.”
Friedman and other law enforcement sources tell 13WHAM News that $1,000 is not an uncommon bail amount for a person facing a misdemeanor Assault charge.
Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree, the charge Apps faces, is a felony-level charge and that typically carries a higher bail amount officials noted.
Lawson’s lawyer is currently New York State Senator Michael Ranzenhoffer. Ranzenhoffer did not return calls that 13WHAM News placed to his law office on Wednesday.
D.A. Friedman said he has every reason to believe that Lawson will return to Genesee County on July 30th for his next scheduled court appearance.
"Sometimes people do what they're supposed to do and show up when they're supposed to and sometimes they don't and obviously there are procedures to bring people in when they don't come in voluntarily,” said D.A. Friedman. “It is something we've had to do on occasion before, yes.”
Could Lawson Face More Serious Charges?
Assault in the 3rd Degree is a Misdemeanor and carries with it a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.
The possibility of increasing the charge against Lawson still exists. Assault in the 2nd Degree carries with it a possible prison sentence of two-to-seven years.
D.A. Friedman tells 13WHAM News that his office is waiting to review the packet of information that deputies will provide his office before commenting on specifics. He noted that McNeil’s injuries and medical condition will be weighed in that review.
"A person's condition and the level of the injuries certainly could affect the level the offense and how we're going to handle it,” said Friedman.
Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office tells 13WHAM News that an investigator is assigned to the case and that it remains an active investigation.