Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No Bail Relief in Cliff Death

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No Bail Relief in Cliff Death

Article excerpt

Stephen Scharf, the Army veteran whose murder conviction was overturned on appeal in August, will remain in jail on $1 million bail as he awaits a new trial on charges that he pushed his estranged wife off the Palisades 22 years ago.

During a hearing in Hackensack on Tuesday, state Superior Court Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi granted the prosecution's request to keep the same high bail that had previously been set for Scharf.

"There's no changed circumstances" that would warrant the bail reduction sought by the Scharf's lawyer, the judge said. "We're basically back to the same position that he was prior to trial before, so we will leave it at the same of $1 million."

It was Scharf's first court appearance since his conviction was unanimously reversed in August by an appellate panel, which ordered a new trial.

"Steve Scharf is the same corporate, ex-military man he always was," Assistant Public Defender Benjamin Malin said.

"He's not a flight risk, and he's not a danger to anybody. He never was, and he comes before you an innocent man," Malin said. "Steve Scharf is eager to prove his innocence to these accusations, which stem from a tragic accident, a decades-old tragic accident."

Malin said Scharf, a former Army major, had honorably served his country for more than 30 years in the Army, the Army Reserve and the National Guard, and had worked for 22 years with the Singer Co. "He has strong connections to the community," the lawyer said.

Reading from the appeals court decision, Malin said the state's evidence "was by no means overwhelming" and that the errors in the case were "clearly capable of producing an unjust result."

"Basically judge, this case seems to be based on hunches and guesses ... and junk science," Malin said.

Opposing any reduction in bail, Bergen County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Wayne Mello said the fact that a jury had convicted Scharf could justify an increase. …

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