NEW YORK -- Hours after accused bombing and cop-shooting suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was taken into custody on Monday, he not only faced his first set of charges, he was also granted bail.
Reactions on social media were swift, and they were highly critical of the judge's bail decision. However, as an attorney with deep experience defending a New York terror suspect points out, there's much more to Rahami's legal situation than the more than $5 million bail he was granted.
"If people knew more about New Jersey law," said celebrity lawyer Ron Kuby in an interview, "they'd be a lot less concerned" about Rahami having been granted $5.2 million bail by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.
She charged him with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, in relation to Rahami allegedly shooting at Angel Padilla, the Linden, New Jersey police officer who arrested him Monday morning. The shooting also injured Linden Police Officer Peter Hammer.
Rahami was also charged with two weapons possession crimes.
Kuby pointed out that New Jersey requires that all criminal defendants be granted bail.
It was not a fact of which many people PIX11 encountered approved.
"He's a bomber," said Cassie Foxx, on her lunch break in Midtown. "He's trying to hurt people. I don't think he should get bail at all."
"He doesn't deserve bail," said Rene Williams. She said that Rahami not only could have killed dozens of more people than the 29 that the bomb he's accused of making injured, "He could have hurt millions of people" psychologically.
"I think it's terrible," said Long Island resident Jeff Tollin about the $5.2 million bail Rahami got. "He should be held without bail."
They're a random sampling, but they're not alone by any means. Social media was jam-packed with thousands of comments like:
"Bail???????" asked Laura Heidrich on Facebook.
"BAIL!!!" wrote Georgette Pleva Misura.. "There shouldn't be any bail for this scumbag!!!"
Consider also some high profile nonviolent cases from earlier this year, such as Jet Blue flight attendant and beauty queen Marsha Reynolds charged with trying to smuggle 60 pounds of cocaine in her luggage, or Harlem restaurateur Hamlet Peralta being accused of running a Ponzi scheme. Neither got any bail.
So when it comes to Rahami, asked Amber Jones Tegeler on Facebook, "Why did he even get the option of bail in the first place?"
"What the judge did," said Kuby, in response, "was to set an impossibly high bail that this man cannot possibly attain because he's legally required to actually set bail."
"So, you ask," Kuby continued, hypothetical inquiring, "'what if the ISIS Defense Fund decides to put up the money? The judge doesn't have to accept that money."
Kuby has a remarkable record of wins at trial, but one of his most famous clients, convicted conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, is in prison for life.
Kuby thinks that Rahami will meet the same fate, but that he still deserves bail. "The Southern District [U.S. Attorney's Office's] record of prosecuting terrorists is currently 100 percent," said Kuby, adding that he doesn't see Rahami becoming the first exception to that record.
Others PIX11 encountered agree with both that assessment and to Rahami's right to get bail.
"That is the law," said Herbert Harvey of Brooklyn. "He deserves bail because he is innocent until proven guilty."
"The anger in me says don't give him bail," said a man from Long Island who wanted only his first name, Allen, to be used. "But this is America."
New Jersey will begin allowing judges to withhold bail starting in January of next year.