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Despite fugitive warrant, Bel Air man freed from jail after judge reinstates his bond

TheftCourts and the JudiciaryJustice System

A Bel Air man facing theft charges in two Maryland counties and in Pennsylvania was freed from jail Friday after a prosecutor couldn't convince a judge to hold him as a fugitive and flight risk.

Harford County District Court Judge Mimi Cooper said she could find no change in the legal status of Franklin Paul Minnick that would cause her not to reinstate the bonds he posted in his three pending Maryland robbery cases, two in Harford County and one in Cecil County.

Minnick, 26, of the 1400 block of North Fountain Green Road, was picked up early Friday on a bond revocation, court records show. He also has a past address in Havre de Grace.

Cooper asked Assistant State's Attorney Joel C. Muneses to explain how Minnick's legal status had changed since Jan. 23, when Minnick bailed out from the Harford County Detention Center on his two theft cases.

Muneses, who apologized for just getting information about Minnick before the bail hearing - Minnick's name was not on the electronic docket posted in the District Courthouse lobby - noted that Minnick had been picked up on a fugitive warrant and jailed in Cecil County on Jan. 31.

"He's a flight risk; he has a history of failing to appear," Muneses told the judge, also noting a pending theft case in Pennsylvania.

Assistant Public Defender Tatiana David told Cooper that Minnick is fighting extradition to Pennsylvania and doesn't pose a flight risk. She asked that Minnick's bond be re-instated "in the interest of justice."

"Once he's released here, he won't want to come back," Muneses countered. "The defendant doesn't want to go anywhere he is facing charges."

David began to reply, but Cooper cut her off. "You don't need to respond," the judge told the public defender.

Cooper pointed out that Minnick had posted bonds in Cecil County and that the Pennsylvania fugitive warrant was served there.

"Nothing changed" with regard to his pending Harford County cases, she continued, adding that she didn't consider Minnick a flight risk and his current bonds would be "enough to secure his appearance in Harford County."

Minnick, who appeared at the hearing via closed circuit television from the detention center, started to talk about changing his life, but both Cooper and David told him not to speak about any of his cases.

Cooper reminded him he must show up for trial. He was released from the detention center Friday afternoon.

Minnick's pending cases in Harford are both scheduled for March 20 at 8:30 a.m. in District Court in Bel Air.

Court records in Harford show Minnick was charged in a December warrant with theft between $10,000 and $100,000 from an incident on Nov. 25, 2013. He was arrested Jan. 3 and held on $10,000 bail and posted bond and was released on Jan. 23.

Minnick was also charged in another December warrant with theft less than $1,000 from an incident on Dec. 27, 2013. He was arrested on that charge the same day as the other, Jan. 3, and held on $10,000 bail, also posting bond and being released on Jan. 23.

In the latter case, Minnick allegedly stole an X-Box, valued at $684.95, from a home in Churchville on Dec. 24, 2013, according to charging documents.

Charging documents from the November 2013 were not available from the District Court as of Tuesday afternoon.

In Cecil County, Minnick is facing one charge of theft from $1,000 to less than $10,000, two charges of theft less than $1,000 and one charge of theft scheme $1,000 to $10,000. The charges were filed in Cecil County Circuit Court on July 1, 2013, and Minnick was arrested the next day and released on his own recognizance.

According to court records, Minnick failed to appear twice for hearings, on July 12 and Dec. 13, 2013. After the first hearing, he was arraigned on Sept. 9, 2013, when bail was set at $5,000 and posted on Sept. 17.

His bond was revoked after the second failure to appear; however, a new bond of $10,000 set on Jan. 24 was posted on Feb. 4, court records show. A jury trial is scheduled at 9 a.m. May 22 in Elkton.

Minnick was served with the Pennsylvania fugitive warrant in Cecil County on Jan. 30, court records show. He posted a $6,000 bond and was released from jail on Feb. 5.

According to Pennsylvania online court records, Minnick was charged on June 27, 2013 in Lancaster County with one count of theft by unlawful taking-movable property from an incident on Nov. 2, 2012. A bench warrant was issued on Aug. 7, 2013.

"Defendant was not present," the case file notes with regard to a lower court hearing last Aug. 6, and a formal arraignment scheduled Aug. 23 was "canceled."

Minnick has a hearing on the fugitive warrant scheduled at 1 p.m. March 28 in Elkton District Court.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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