The Bennington Superior Court on Wednesday lifted a local white nationalist’s order for house arrest, agreeing with him that his new probationary status offers stronger public protection.
The home detention for Max Misch ended just as state prosecutors learned that police recently charged him for violating the detention order.
Misch, 39, had asked the court to remove his 22-hour-a-day curfew after being sentenced last week to two years of probation. He had pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic assault and disorderly conduct as a hate crime under a deal with the Bennington County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Judge Cortland Corsones imposed the curfew in December at the request of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. It came as Misch’s criminal charges mounted.
The military veteran still has four unresolved criminal cases, under which the curfew was imposed as a condition of release from jail.
In a hearing on Wednesday, Corsones said Misch’s probationary conditions “have more teeth” than his release conditions. If Misch were to violate probation, the judge said, he faces the possibility of serving his currently suspended jail sentence of one to three years. By comparison, violating conditions of release is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail.
Defense attorney Fred Bragdon emphasized that Misch’s probation officer also has the authority to place him under curfew. And as a convicted felon, he said Misch cannot buy or possess firearms.
The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Robert Lees, had objected to lifting Misch’s curfew. He argued it’s necessary to maintain public safety, particularly now that Misch has admitted committing a violent felony and a hate crime.
Lees also said violating release conditions is a “continuing issue” with Misch. The prosecutor said that right before Wednesday afternoon’s hearing, the Bennington Police Department emailed him that Misch was recently cited for violating release conditions and will answer to the charge in court next month.
In response to questions about Misch’s latest charge, the Attorney General’s Office told VTDigger that Bennington police cited Misch for allegedly violating his court-ordered curfew on Aug. 3.
Bennington police’s assistant chief, Camillo Grande, confirmed the curfew-related citation.
The curfew ordered Misch to remain at home for 22 hours each day, only allowing him to step out between noon and 2 p.m. to shop for food and other necessities. The court provided exceptions for court hearings, meetings with his attorney, medical appointments, counseling and medical emergencies.
Misch’s pending charges include two counts of possessing high-capacity firearm magazines in February 2019, his oldest and highest-profile charges.
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