Jamestown man accused of counterfeiting granted bail

A New York man who has been in Warren County Jail for more than a year without a trial is eligible for bail.

Jordan T. Adams, 31, of Jamestown, went to trial in January on charges related to allegedly passing counterfeit $50 bills at the 2014 Warren County Fair.

That was declared a mistrial after video evidence that had not been available to the attorneys during their preparations was discovered during the trial.

Adams was originally charged with 162 counts, including 54 felonies. At the time of the first trial, Adams faced 52 counts including 22 felonies.

The case is currently on appeal and under consideration by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Following the mistrial, Adams attorney, Elizabeth Feronti, asked that his bail be reduced. Adams had been in jail for more than 180 days.

At that time, Judge Gregory Hammond agreed and set nominal bail at one dollar. The conditions on the reduced bail were that Adams was to remain in Warren and Chautauqua counties, report to Warren County Adult Probation by phone once per week, not use any drugs or alcohol, and have no contact with witnesses nor alleged victims.

Bail was revoked and Hammond issued a bench warrant after Adams reportedly failed to make required calls starting in June. At a Thursday hearing to reconsider bail, Hammond said he was not immediately notified of Adams’ failure to check in. “Something had to have happened with probation that I wasn’t notified,” he said.

“The commonwealth is opposed to any bail being set,” District Attorney Rob Greene said. “Since he violated his bail, bail should not be reinstated.”

Feronti suggested that there was “a miscommunication” that resulted in Adams’ bail violation.

Feronti again argued that Adams was being held without reasonable bail.

“Mr. Adams has been sitting in jail without bail set at all,” she said. “He is entitled to a bail being set.”

Her motion did not specifically ask for nominal bail.

Greene said the time Adams is in jail while the case is under appeal “should not count against the commonwealth.”

“The commonwealth can’t schedule a retrial while that stay is pending,” Hammond said.

He described the case as unusual.

“I’m going to have to set bail,” he said. “He’s entitled to bail under the constitution.”

“I’ve put together a plan that will assure his appearance,” Hammond said.

He set unsecured bail at $50,000 with conditions similar to those imposed previously, but adding house arrest in Warren County with electronic and GPS monitoring.

“If he wants to run on his GPS monitoring, he’ll be located,” Hammond said.

He said Adams will not be released from jail until appropriate housing in Warren County is arranged.

Representation

Feronti told Hammond that her client had expressed an interest in speaking during the hearing.

Hammond allowed it after making sure Adams was aware that he would only be allowed to talk about issues related to the bail hearing.

When called forward, Adams questioned Feronti’s effectiveness in representing him.

“I’m denying your verbal motion to have her replaced as your counsel,” Hammond said. “Frankly, it’s surprising to me.”

He said Feronti’s effort on his behalf resulted in the discovery of evidence that resulted in a mistrial and her appeal to the superior court has been under consideration for months.

“Am I entitled to represent myself pro se?” Adams asked.

Hammond told him that would require a separate hearing.

When Adams tried to continue speaking, Hammond said, “Take your seat, Mr. Adams. We’re done.”

Feronti continued to represent Adams at the hearing. “I don’t have any issues continuing my representation of him.”

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