Maserati driver facing more charges, accused of violating bail restrictions

Posted at 3:00 AM, Apr 01, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team has discovered, Antonio D. Brown, the driver of the Maserati in that deadly South Buffalo crash, is once again in trouble with the law.

Now, prosecutors say he violated terms of his bail.

According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, Brown was picked up for driving without a license on Main Street in Buffalo. That was back in November. Still, he's walking free.

"The law, as it's written, is against pre-trail detention," said retired State Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang. "Cash bail was set -- there was a death. The new charge, driving without a license, cash bail is not permitted under those charges."

Wolfgang says, with these latest charges -- and the current bail reform laws -- a judge can only change the stipulations to Brown's $50,000 bail. The judge could not revoke that bail and send him back to jail.

The retired judge says she thinks this is a slap in the face to the judicial system.

"I think many other judges agree with me because we should be able to have the discretion to be able to consider the danger to the community. The fact that he might recommit a crime -- which is what happened in this case -- and the victim...is something we did in the past. It was always a consideration," Wolfgang said. "I feel that really the discretion should be given back to the courts in a case like this, to say that this person is a danger to the community and should be off the streets and should be incarcerated."

"Dangerousness" is not a factor in setting bail, which Brown posted almost immediately after he was sent to jail, back in August. Under a new law being proposed by State Assemblyman Patrick Burke, a judge would have more power in ordering pre-trial detention, based on the dangerousness of the defendant.

There would be a hearing to determine how dangerous the person is. Based on that hearing, according to the bill, "The individual shall be released on his or her own recognizance unless the judge determines that will endanger the safety of any other person or the community."

So if Burke's bill was law, how would this situation have changed?

"People make terrible mistakes, right? So hypothetically, this guy made a horrible mistake that cost people their lives," Burke said. "It's significant enough that you could consider it being a danger to society -- especially when he repeats a similar -- not a similar act, but something involving a vehicle and violating the law. So this would give the judge discretion to make that decision."

Meantime, the judge in this case made it clear, Brown is under tight restrictions while he is out on bail. He cannot leave Western New York without permission from the court. He also cannot drive under any circumstance.

Wolfgang says the judge's hands were tied and "under the way the law is written now, I would have done exactly the same thing."

Burke says it's unlikely his bill will be passed anytime soon because it takes years to get support on something like this.

The I-Team has reached out to the victims' families. They did not want to issue a comment for this story. Brown is due to be arraigned on the driving with a suspended license charge on April 14.

The case involving the Maserati -- and the death of two people -- is back in court on April 29.