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Man spends 5 months in jail because his lawyer didn't tell him his bail was reduced to $2

The Daily PostNov 8, 2016, 6:40:32 AM

In 2014, 41-year-old, Aitabdel Salem, resident of Queens, NY, was sent to jail for attacking a police officer when caught shoplifting.  His initial bail was $25,000.

He was also charged with two other minor offenses, tampering and mischief, for which he received a $1 bail for each.

Days after the arrest, prosecutors failed to get an indictment for the assault charge, meaning his $25,000 bail was wiped clean.  Unfortunately, Salem, who is an Algerian native, was never explained the change in bail status by his lawyer, Stephen Pokart.

For five months, Salem sat in Riker's Island on a $2 bail.  Because of a mix-up in court dates, according to his new lawyer, he missed the arraignment of his assault charge and was thrown back in jail once he left.  This time, with a $30,000 bail.

“(Salem) was shocked and dismayed and frustrated that his case was unconscionably mishandled and there was no communication by his attorney telling him his bail was $2 which he could have made at any moment,” argued one of Salem’s new attorneys, Glenn Hardy at a recent court hearing.  “You can’t do what you don’t know and if you’re a defendant in a criminal case you certainly have a right to rely upon the system (to know) what your next court date is.”

Reports indicate that Salem is still in jail for missing his court date.