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Malone man accused of assaulting baby returned to jail

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MALONE - The Malone man accused of seriously injuring his baby by shaking her will remain in the Franklin County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond following a Yuesday hearing in Malone Town Court Tuesday.

James J. Whitney Jr., 28, faces charges of reckless assault of a child, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, after the skull of his 2-month-old daughter was fractured, causing bleeding of the brain, during an incident reported on the evening of Dec. 29..

A revisit on the conditions of Mr. Whitney’s release was scheduled on Tuesday pending new information on the medical state of his daughter. Defense attorney Chris Fleury said the child is currently recovering and no longer on a ventilator. Her medical condition is not as dire as once thought, he said.

Mr. Fleury argued that despite the seriousness of the allegations against his client they remain allegations. This is Whitney’s “first encounter with the law and criminal justice system,” he said, requesting that his client be released under supervision of the probation department with a GPS monitoring anklet.

According to Mr. Fleury, Mr. Whitney is a low flight risk, having spent his entire life in Malone. He grew up, graduated from high school ,works here and has family in the area He also has a current order of protection against him to stay away from all children, including his own.

“There is no question in my mind he’ll appear,” Mr. Fleury said.

Assistant District Attorney Craig Carriero countered that the allegations against Mr. Whitney are very serious and the probation department did not recommend his release. He requested that Mr. Whitney continue to be held at current bail amounts.

Malone Justice Michael Lamitie agreed with the prosecution’s argument.

“It’s not a concern that he’s a flight risk, but that he might be a danger to others in the community,” said Mr. Lamitie, who later clarified that when a judge considers bail he must take multiple factors besides flight risk into account: the arguments from the defense and prosecution, the recommendation from the probation department and whether the defendant poses a threat to himself or others.

He said that one of the things judges learn over the years is never to use bail as punishment.

The weight, he said, just came down on the side of the prosecution.

Mr. Carriero said the DA’s office is waiting to see if the child has suffered any permanent injuries before moving forward with the felony charges in county court.

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