Fair Lawn, NJ – A woman accused of shooting a man in the face and blaming the incident on alleged home intruders has been released from jail under New Jersey’s new bail reform law.
“We get that there are people who can't afford bail, and so [bail reform] lets them stay out and work," one unnamed officer told the Daily Voice.
"But in this case, she flat-out shot a homeowner in the face and her accomplice is saying she did it," he said.
The incident occurred on Oct. 26, when the Fair Lawn Police Department received a report that a man had been admitted to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the face, the North Jersey Media Group reported.
Investigators learned that the shooting occurred at an apartment above Stosh’s Craft Beer Bar on Maple Avenue.
During questioning, 32-year-old Sharese Peeples, 31-year-old Steven Mitchell, and 35-year-old Isaiah Lee initially claimed that the victim had been shot by two intruders who came into their apartment.
Police later determined that the trio was lying, and said that Peeples was the one responsible for pulling the trigger, Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said in a media release on Nov. 5.
Mitchell was arrested on Oct. 31, and was charged with providing false information to law enforcement. He was subsequently released from jail on court conditions, pending his next hearing.
Peeples was arrested on Nov. 1 on charges of attempted murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of a weapon, and providing false information to law enforcement.
A fugitive warrant for Lee’s arrest for the offense of providing false information to law enforcement was issued on Nov. 1.
Peeples was released from the Bergen County Jail just nine days after her arrest, thanks to New Jersey’s Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act, the Daily Voice reported.
According to the New Jersey Courts website, the bail reform measure was enacted on Jan. 1, 2017, in order to provide a more “objective” method in determining whether an accused offender should be held in custody pending their next court appearance.
“The state shifted from a system that relies principally on setting monetary bail as a condition of release to a risk-based system that is more objective, and thus fairer to defendants because it is unrelated to their ability to pay monetary bail,” the website read.
According to an infograph on the court’s site, pretrial services staff utilize a Public Safety Assessment (PSA) to provide information to the court regarding whether or not a defendant should be released.
“The PSA uses the defendant’s prior criminal and court history to assess the likelihood that the defendant will fail to appear in court or commit another crime,” the infograph read.
“There is a recommendation of no release for certain crimes such as murder, and some crimes involving guns or weapons,” according to the website.
It was unclear why Peeples, an attempted murder suspect who has been accused of lying to police and allegedly committed a violent offense with a firearm, was allowed to walk out of the Bergen County Jail.
“We’re usually quiet about this stuff, but the [law enforcement community] is just shocked," the police officer told the Daily Voice.
It was also unclear what – if any – conditions of release Peeples may have been required to abide by.
According to police, the Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act has created a “catch and release” system that has allowed repeat offenders to continue to commit crimes while they are out on release, the Daily Voice reported.
As a result, officers are spending more time handling and investigating new offenses that could have been prevented if the defendants had not been released.