CONCORD — The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously rejected the third attempt by defense lawyers to have a judge release Randolph 7 suspect Volodymyr Zhukovskyy on bail before trial.
In a nine-page opinion, justices said factual and legal reasons existed to deny a full-blown bail hearing for Zhukovskyy, who faces manslaughter and negligent homicide charges in the deaths of seven motorcyclists in June 2019 in the White Mountains town of Randolph. With such a hearing, lawyers would be able to call witnesses and introduce evidence into the record.
Zhukovskyy has been jailed since he returned to New Hampshire to face charges just days after the accident. Zhukovskyy, who has a long history of truck-driver motor vehicle infractions and impaired driving, was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the Randolph 7 crash.
The decision, written by Justice James Bassett, notes that Zhukovskyy was out on bail from drunken driving charges in Connecticut at the time of the New Hampshire accident.
This appears to have carried more weight with the justices than the claim by Zhukovskyy’s lawyer that he had been drug- and alcohol-free since the accident.
“Although commendable, his sobriety while detained in a restrictive environment does not negate the undisputed fact that he allegedly committed the June 21, 2019 offenses while driving under the influence of drugs in violation of release conditions following his May 2019 arrest for driving while under the influence of drugs,” Bassett wrote.
Bassett also rejected defense arguments that New Hampshire law required Coos County Superior Court Judge Peter Bornstein to hold a full-blown evidentiary hearing to consider bail when asked by a defendant.
State law says a defendant may request a bail hearing, but Bassett stressed that the wording of the law does not require it.
“Contrary to the defendant’s contention, this language demonstrates that, when the legislature intends to grant a right to a hearing, it knows how to do so” the ruling reads.