The fired captain of the Exxon tanker that crashed into an Alaska reef and spilled more than 10 million gallons of oil was released from jail after posting drastically reduced bail of $25,000.
Justice Thomas Stark, the supervising judge of Suffolk County Criminal Court, said Thursday that the bond initially set at $1 million for Capt. Joseph Hazelwood was "unconstitutionally excessive."He said there was little chance of Hazelwood jumping bail and set it at the amount prosecutors originally had requested.
A stone-faced Hazelwood, who is accused of being drunk when the Exxon Valdez crashed into a reef on March 24, left the Suffolk County Jail Thursday, walked past reporters without comment and left in a car with his lawyers.
On Wednesday, state Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Rohl set bail for Hazelwood at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash, comparing the effect of the ship's oil spill in Alaska to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
"The amount of bail is not commensurate with the seriousness of the crime or the effect of the crime on the community," said Stark after listening to an emotional appeal from Hazelwood attorney Thomas Russo.