Out of all the defendants in Chester County who could be considered the "poster child" of the dark side of Chester County's court system, Michael Shayne Boyd would be that person.
Boyd, 20, of Glenmoore, was recently arrested by Upper Uwchlan Police and charged with Aggravated Assault and related offenses after allegedly stabbing two men at his home last week.
To give you an idea as to how the system failed to protect the public from a man who could be considered a "danger to society", then this would be such a case. Here is a timeline of Boyd's exemplary record as an adult:
- August 20, 2007: Boyd is arrested by Ofc. Stephen McNally of the Uwchlan Police and charged with 31 counts of Harassment along with one count each of Aggravated Assault, Possession of an Instrument of Crime, Terroristic Threats, and Criminal Mischief after smashing the screen door of a former friend's house with the butt of a shotgun and subsequently sending over 30 threatening text messages and phone calls to the victim and his mother.
- August 21, 2007: Boyd's bail is set at $20,000 cash by Lionville District Judge Stanley Scott.
- August 23, 2007: Boyd's bail is reduced to $1,000 cash by Judge Scott (it should be noted that it's not entirely clear if bail was posted, but it's a pretty good bet that it was).
- October 2, 2007: At his preliminary hearing in front of Judge Scott, Boyd waives his preliminary hearing on one count of Possession of an Instrument of Crime and one count of Criminal Mischief; all other charges are withdrawn.
- March 17, 2008: Boyd is arrested in St. Lawrence County in Upstate New York and charged with drug and weapons offenses. As of this point, a trial date in that case is still pending. Boyd is released after posting a $20,000 bond.
- March 24, 2008: Boyd pleads guilty to the summary charge of Criminal Mischief in front of Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony Sarcione. Boyd is sentenced to 90 days probation and ordered to pay a $200 fine plus $200 in restitution to the victim (CP-15-CR-0004053-2007).
- April 11, 2008: Boyd is arrested by WCPD after an incident in which he and another man allegedly threatened to neighbors at the Seven Oaks Apartments on East Marshall Street. Boyd is brought to 15-1-04 for arraignment, charged with PWID, Terroristic Threats, Possession of a Weapon, Possession of a Prohibited Offensive Weapon, Simple Assault, and Possession of a Controlled Substance. In a rare sign of common sense from District Judge Gwenn S. Knapp, Boyd's bail is set at $250,000.
- April 18, 2008: The PWID charges against Boyd are withdrawn after the Commonwealth admits that they could not prove that Boyd, despite being in possession of a large amount of pills, had intended to sell or distribute them; Boyd waives his preliminary hearing on the remaining charges, however, bail remains set at $250,000.
- May 13, 2008: State Police at Embreeville file charges of Possession of a Firearm Without a License, Firearm Ownership - Duty of Other Persons, and Criminal Conspiracy after allegedly giving money to a friend to purchase a firearm in November 2007.
- June 17, 2008: Charges in the firearms case filed by State Police are dismissed by Judge Scott; Boyd, however, remains in custody while awaiting trial on the West Chester case (15-2-07, CR-0000107-08).
- July 11, 2008: Boyd enters a no contest plea to one count of Terroristic Threats in front of Judge Sarcione and is sentenced to 3-to-23 months at CCP, fined $10, and paroled immediately. Boyd is found to be in violation of his probation on the Uwchlan case and is subsequently re-sentenced to 90 days in CCP, concurrent to the West Chester case (CP-15-CR-0001604-2008).
- July 18, 2008: Ofc. Barry Williams of the Marple Township Police in Delaware County arrests Boyd and charges him with DUI/2nd Tier (BAC between .10-.159), Restrictions on Alcoholic Beverages, Minor Prohibited from Operating a Motor Vehicle With Alcohol, Scattering Rubbish, and Careless Driving. Boyd is cited and released on summons.
- July 24, 2008: Boyd allegedly leads Uwchlan Police on a vehicle pursuit which ends when he is taken into custody at gunpoint. The basis for the traffic stop was a bench warrant on a parole violation, most likely stemming from the DUI charges in Marple. Ofc. Williams files the DUI complaint in Marple District Court; a preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 9 at 08:30 (32-1-27, CR-0000149-08).
- July 25, 2008: Ofc. Philip Owen of the Uwchlan Police files charges of Fleeing or Eluding Police, Resisting Arrest, Possession of a Prohibited Offensive Weapon, and Accidents Involving Damage to an Attended Vehicle. A prelim is scheduled for October 7 in front of Judge Scott (15-2-07, CR-0000144-08).
- July 25, 2008: State Police re-file the weapons charges in Lionville District Court that were dismissed on June 17.
- August 5, 2008: Boyd appears in front of Judge Sarcione for a violation of parole Level I hearing. Boyd is released from custody after the following order is issued, according to on-line court records: "Move to a [M]orrissey II hrg and released (sic) the defendant from custody after the defendant's address is verified. Within one week of release, the defendant is to undergo a drug/alcohol and mental health evalution. Additionally, the defendant is to make an application to attend college and provide verification that he has applied for two jobs per week."
- August 8, 2008: Boyd posts 10 percent of $5,000 bail on the two active cases pending in front of Judge Scott.
- August 26, 2008: Boyd is ordered held for trial on the weapons case; the case is assigned to Common Pleas Court Judge Howard F. Riley, Jr. with a formal arraignment date scheduled for September 11 (CP-15-CR-0003187-2008).
- August 29, 2008: Ofc. Brian Gathercole of the Upper Uwchlan Police responds to Boyd's house on Styer Road after two 18-year-old men from Coatesville accuse Boyd of stabbing them. Both victims are transported to Reading Hospital. The two men were en route to pick up two female acquaintances who claimed that they were "unconfortable with Boyd and his friend." Boyd is charged with Criminal Attempt to Commit Criminal Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, REAP, Possession of an Instrument of Crime, and Disorderly Conduct. Boyd is arraigned by Downingtown District Judge Rita Arnold who sets bail at $75,000 cash. A prelim is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday in front of Judge Scott (15-2-07, CR-0000161-08).
This whole chain of events raises enough questions that it should make the public wonder what the hell is going on at the Courthouse. To wit:
- How can the Chester County Bail Agency continue to justify recommending bail amounts so ridiculously low when a defendant keeps racking up more charges and endangers the community? If you believe the spin about not wanting to overcrowd Chester County Prison, then I have a bridge in Palmyra for sale. Once the prison expansion project is complete, then that's no longer an excuse.
- How can a parole officer who is presumably familiar with a criminal history such as Boyd's be willing to allow such a dangerous person to be released from custody when he has three criminal cases pending in Pennsylvania and one criminal case pending in New York State? And why did Judge Sarcione, who generally throws the book at criminals who violate parole or probation, let Boyd out in the first place?
- To that end, how is it that authorities in the State of New York haven't filed any type of detainer against Boyd considering that he had racked up five new criminal charges since he was arrested in March?
- How is it that Delaware County authorities didn't have the sense to arraign Boyd after the DUI arrest in Marple? I understand that Pennsylvania's Rules of Criminal Procedures generally allow for defendants to be released on summons after a DUI arrest, however, this should not have been one such case.
- How surreal is it when Judge Knapp, who this writer has repeatedly criticized for setting relatively low or even unsecured bails for defendants with lengthy criminal histories, actually had the right idea on dealing with Boyd? I don't think anyone who is familar with the court system in Chester County had any doubt over how Judge Arnold was going to deal with Boyd.
So many questions with seemingly few answers. And, as a result, two young men from the Coatesville area have their lives altered thanks to the alleged actions of a man who should never have been out on the streets to begin with.
Some system, huh?