ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Swans Island man who had been held in jail for the past four months was released this week after a judge agreed to reduce his bail.
Matthew Joy, 27, had requested his bail be reduced so could get out of jail and haul out of the water his lobster traps he set last fall.
Joy and another man were arrested in October on charges of robbery after they allegedly took prescription pills by force from a 54-year-old Oak Point Road resident in Trenton. According to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Joy and Joshua Smith, 30, of Milford assaulted, threatened and restrained the victim before they left with his pills.
A game camera on the property recorded digital photographs of the incident, which occurred last August, sheriff’s department officials have indicated.
On Tuesday, Joy appeared in Ellsworth District Court to request his bail be amended. Joy’s defense attorney, Matt Foster of Ellsworth, told Judge Bruce Mallonee that Joy has been unable to come up with the $10,000 in cash or $75,000 in surety that he needs in order to be released. Foster requested his client’s bail be reduced to $5,000 cash or $25,000 surety.
Joy, a lobsterman, has been unable to remove 300 traps that he had set in the ocean prior to his arrest, Foster told the judge. Officers with Marine Patrol, the law enforcement division of Maine Department of Marine Resources, have left messages for Joy telling him he needs to remove the traps or else they will be confiscated, according to the defense attorney.
Foster told the judge that Joy would be willing to live with his girlfriend in Bar Harbor, where police would have an easier time making sure he complies with his bail conditions, and to comply with a nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Allowing Joy to leave the house early each morning would enable him to get out on the water by sunrise, the defense attorney explained.
Assistant Hancock County District Attorney Bill Entwisle told Mallonee that he thought the bail should stay as it was. The judge said he did not think the original bail amount was “out of line” but agreed to reduce it to $5,000 cash or $25,000 surety.
The following day, Joy came up with the $5,000 cash bail and was released, according to an official at Hancock County Jail. Smith, Joy’s co-defendant, remains in custody at the jail on $25,000 cash or $75,000 surety, the official said.
If convicted of robbery, Smith and Joy each could face up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.