- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Several Douglas County law enforcement unions have endorsed a judge despite the controversy about bail he set for a man who was released and later charged with drunken driving in a crash that killed a woman.

The Omaha Police Officers Association and the unions representing Douglas County sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers have endorsed Douglas County Judge Jeffrey Marcuzzo, who will be on the Nov. 8 ballot according to the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2eMDHug ).

Opponents want Marcuzzo off of the bench or punished because they said the $50,000 bail he set for then-19-year-old Eswin Mejia (meh-HEE’-uh) was too low. Police said Mejia, who was in the country illegally, collided with another vehicle while street racing in January, killing Sarah Root, 21.

Mejia posted the required 10 percent of his bail and has been missing ever since.

The police union decided to endorse Marcuzzo because it saw the judge’s decision on Mejia’s bail as an outlier from an otherwise unblemished career. Union president John Wells said the Marcuzzo based his decision for the bail on incomplete information, and had he had a fuller picture of Mejia he would have then set a higher bail.

“In his opinion, it’s a decision a lot of other judges would have made,” Wells said.

Michelle Root, mother of the collision victim, said Thursday that she hopes voters remember Sarah when they go to the polls. She also called the union endorsement “comical.”

“Not everyone in the Police Department feels that way,” Michelle Root said. “I think the judge was wrong, and I think that he’s lying if he said he didn’t have the correct information.”

Sarah Root had graduated from Bellevue University just hours earlier with a degree in investigations.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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