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Warrant procedure frustrates police
By Norman Miller / Daily News Staff
Friday, February 25, 2005

NATICK -- Allen James Sutherland has been arrested many times since 2002, and local police are frustrated that judges set the 20-year-old free whenever he appears in court.

Sutherland, of 4 Lincoln Circle, Natick, was arrested by Natick Police Wednesday on 10 warrants from eight different courts, some from when he was 17.

And, police said, Sutherland has a habit of not going to court once he is released from custody.

"When you see somebody arrested numerous times -- and many times for the same type of crime -- you start questioning the court system when he's released," said Natick Lt. Nick Mabardy. "Do you think he has any inhibitions about court? It doesn't bother him. It doesn't faze him. Whatever you do, it doesn't bother him."

Sutherland was arrested Wednesday at 6:18 p.m. at his home. He had three warrants from Newton, as well as warrants from Natick, Westborough, Waltham, Dedham, Wrentham, Dudley and East Brookfield.

The charges include breaking into homes, stealing cars, motor vehicle violations and marijuana possession.

Mabardy and Newton Police Officer Kathleen Cosgrove both said it appears that when Sutherland is released after his arraignments, he never returns to court.

"It's all piling up," said Cosgrove. "Eventually, they'll stop letting him go. It's frustrating for police."

In Natick District Court yesterday, Sutherland's bail was set at $1,000. It could not be learned if he made bail. He is due back in Natick on March 22 for a pretrial conference.

If he makes bail, Sutherland is supposed to go to each of the other courts to answer outstanding warrants.

Mabardy said it is not a good bet that Sutherland will make those court appearances.

"There has to be a better way," said Mabardy. "I wish I had the answer. It's the victims, the people, who are frustrated. The police get frustrated, and you see it many times."

Cosgrove said Sutherland's arrests in Newton date to 2002, when he was accused of stealing a car. In 2003, Cosgrove said, Sutherland led police on a car chase. He did not have a license and had marijuana in his possession.

Even in his teens, Sutherland skipped court. According to News stories published in 2003, Sutherland was named one of Newton's most wanted criminals when he was arrested three times and failed to report to court.

The majority of Sutherland's charges are driving violations, such as operating a vehicle without a license or attaching illegal plates. But according to records, he faces more serious charges.

He is charged with leading Westborough Police on a chase; breaking into a home and stealing a car in Natick; stealing a car in Dedham; breaking into a building in Dudley and stealing a car in Newton.

Mabardy said he knows judges have a tough time choosing whom to send to overcrowded jails, but something has to be done.

"They're not violent, but there's some serious crimes," said Mabardy. "If he had any inhibitions, he wouldn't have repeated it (breaking the law). I'm not saying everyone should go to jail, but sometimes the most punishment anyone gets is when they're held on bail."
 
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