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Judge At Center Of Accused Cop Killer's Release Controversy Has Critics, Defenders

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The judge who released NYPD Officer Peter Figoski's alleged killer -- without bail -- a month before the murder was under fire on Thursday. Some are saying she made a huge mistake.

Her name is Judge Evelyn LaPorte and given what she knows she probably wishes now she had a do-over when Lamont Pride came before her on Nov. 4.

"She made a terrible decision and needs to be held accountable for that," City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., said.

1010 WINS Reporter Juliet Papa Reports From Brooklyn


Vallone, the Council's Public Safety chairman, is furious that the judge released Pride, the man accused of using an illegal semi-automatic to kill Officer Figoski, without bail and over the objections of the prosecutor, who had pointed out that Pride was also wanted in a North Carolina shooting.

"This was outrageous. This judge is mandated by law to set bail based on a bench warrant history and ties to another state, both of which she had violated her duty and, unfortunately, we saw the tragic results," Vallone said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also furious at Judge LaPorte, a civil court judge sitting by designation in the criminal court. However, her former boss, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, refused to second guess her, even though he will have to prosecute Pride in the shooting of Officer Figoski.

"It was her understanding of the circumstances that she didn't think bail was appropriate. We disagreed, but I'm not going to criticize her because it's easy to do that. I think overall she's a very good judge," Hynes said.

"She has always been a very good judge. She was a good assistant DA. She worked for me."

Hynes did, however, take a shot at the North Carolina criminal justice system, reports 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa.

"Had North Carolina believed that this guy was a serious threat then they would have had a hold warrant, rather than a no hold," he said.

When North Carolina finally changed the warrant to a hold warrant, Pride was already out of the New York City system.

David Bookstaver is the communications director of the Office of Court Administration.

"If there is anyone to blame, as we look to do that, I think it's the alleged gunman, Lamont Pride," Bookstaver said.

WCBS 880 Reporter Irene Cornell reports...


The judge is up for re-election in 2014, so if there is a price to pay for her ruling it could happen then. LaPorte took the day off Thursday as the controversy began to swirl around her. It's unclear whether she will be back on the bench Friday.

Where do you think the blame lies? Should Pride have ever even made it to New York City? Add your comments below...

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