Meadville Tribune

November 12, 2013

City teen's assault trial is postponed until January

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — A Meadville teen won’t go to trial in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas until next year for allegedly beating a city man on New Year’s Day.

On Tuesday, Judge John Spataro denied a defense petition for a writ of habeas corpus to have Timothy Bolden, 17, either transferred to another facility, released on electronic home monitoring or have Bolden’s bond reduced from $25,000. Bolden is currently lodged in the county jail unless he posts bond.

Spataro agreed to postpone Bolden’s trial from this month until the January term of county criminal court in order to give his attorney more time to prepare his client’s defense.

Bolden is charged by Meadville Police with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, two counts of simple assault, recklessly endangerment and two counts of harassment for his alleged role in the incident outside the CVS drug store on North Street.

Bolden, who was 16 at the time of the alleged attack, was certified to be tried as an adult following a hearing in March before Spataro.

At a hearing Tuesday, Milton Raiford, Bolden’s defense attorney, argued that Bolden’s incarceration at the Crawford County jail was “cruel and unusual punishment” for several reasons. Because of his young age, Bolden is isolated from other inmates and only has contact with jail staff, Raiford said.

Bolden goes to school from 8:30 to 10 a.m. but is kept in his cell from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Raiford said. Bolden also is allowed out of his cell for one hour a day, which he spends completely alone, Raiford said.

“I understand how serious the charges are,” Raiford said in asking Spataro to consider alternative housing for Bolden until the trial.

In denying the writ of habeas corpus, Spataro said he understands the county jail “is not the ideal place for Mr. Bolden.”

However, Spataro pointed out that housing other than the jail was considered for Bolden following the certification hearing, but no other secure place to house Bolden was found.

Spataro said a $25,000 bond was appropriate to ensure Bolden’s appearance given the serious nature of the charges against Bolden. Bolden was on probation prior to the New Year’s Day incident and had been on probation before, Spataro said.

“He was on house arrest and he left (home),” Spataro said. “When you put all that together, $25,000 is fair and appropriate.”

Raiford became Bolden’s attorney on Oct. 18, according to court records. Raiford said he asked for a trial postponement to review evidence in the case as well as interview potential witnesses.