Supreme Court CT rules $20 million bail in murder case reasonable

The state Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a lower court judge could have considered a bail amendment for the Massachusetts man awaiting trial for the February 2021 murder of Kevin Jiang, a Yale graduate student, in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven.

Qinxuan Pan, who was found competent to stand trial this month, is being held on $20 million bail, which was upheld by the high court in mid-afternoon. Pan fled the state after the alleged death by shooting and was the focus of a nationwide manhunt that finally tracked him down in Alabama three months after Jiang’s death.

But the blanket ruling is intended to change the landscape of criminal bond hearings going forward.

At the time of Pan’s arrest, a prosecutor requested that the original $5 million bond included in the warrant for Pan’s arrest be increased to $50 million, charging that he posed a clear flight risk with monetary assets. Pan had been found in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was renting an apartment under an assumed name and had $19,000 in cash, along with seven cell phones, a computer and his father’s Chinese passport.

The Supreme Court said that while the $20 million bail was not an abuse of court discretion “given the extraordinary flight risk and public safety issues raised in this case,” they returned the issue to the Supreme Court level so that a court could consider it. a hearing that could lead to a 10 percent cash option for Pan.

The Supreme Court also wants new procedures for future bond changes under the rights of the Connecticut Constitution.

“Because this case reveals the existence of several substantive and procedural issues regarding the information upon which Superior Court judges rely in determining reasonable bond amounts, we are also addressing the procedures applicable to any future bond modification procedures,” reads the afternoon conclusion. said. While Supreme Court Justice Gerald L. Harmon had considered the issue of high bail in an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court said Harmon should also have reviewed the option of a 10 percent cash alternative.

“We conclude that Judge Harmon did not abuse his discretion in maintaining the defendant’s bail at $20 million,” the Supreme Court wrote, but Harmon “erroneously found that he lacked discretion” to grant Pan’s request for a Consider a 10 percent cash deposit. $2 million.

“This particular defendant poses a uniquely significant flight risk, compounded by the violence of the crime he was charged with and the lengths he went to to avoid detection and apprehension,” the court ruled. In other words, this case is a paradigmatic example of that
an amount in which a bond amount that is so high that the defendant may not be able to afford it is nevertheless reasonable, even if the high amount effectively serves as the negation of the bond.

The Supreme Court emphasized that it is not of the opinion that the current procedures for establishing criminal connections should be changed.

“However, we are aware that pre-trial detention can have very serious consequences in addition to and as a result of the loss of the defendant’s liberty,” the court wrote. “Pre-trial detention can affect employment situations, housing arrangements and family relationships, and is also on the rise
the likelihood of a criminal conviction, either by impeding the defendant’s ability to assist in his own defense or by increasing the likelihood of a guilty plea.”

The Supreme Court said it was “critical for a suspect to be given a meaningful opportunity to seek review of their initial bond through a more comprehensive hearing than initially held at the arraignment.” They wrote that if defense attorneys believe an amendment is warranted, defendants can file motions for amendment of the bond. Prosecutors must present evidence in the future to show that a bond is reasonable.

Pan’s next trial is scheduled for December 5.

[email protected] Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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