Accused NYC Subway Shooter Can Be Forced to Go to Court

Suspect Frank James is led by police from 9th Precinct after being arrested for his connection to the mass shooting at the 36th Street subway station on April 13, 2022, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS)

NEW YORK (New York Daily News/TNS) — A Brooklyn federal court judge is ordering accused subway shooter Frank James to be hauled to court by force if necessary, after the terrorism suspect tried to dodge his last appearance.

Judge William Kuntz is taking no chances with the 63-year-old James, who on Oct. 12 initially refused to come to court from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

James is accused of boarding a rush-hour train on April 12, setting off a smoke bomb and firing 33 bullets as it approached the 36th Street station in Sunset Park. Ten passengers were shot. All of them survived.

“Upon the defendant’s prior refusal to appear before the Court when ordered to do so … it is hereby ordered that the United States Marshals Service, their agents, and/or designees, use all necessary force to produce the above-named defendant … for a conference on Thursday, December 8, 2022,” Kuntz wrote on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said prosecutors made no request that spurred Kuntz’s order and declined further comment.

Kuntz fumed when James didn’t show for the Oct. 12 hearing before him and ordered U.S. Marshals to force him to appear that day.

“This isn’t a high school prom invitation. This is an order of the court to be here,” Kuntz said. ”I’m not tolerating that. I am not tolerating it.”

James came willingly after that, no force required, and his lawyer Mia Eisner-Grynberg apologized on his behalf, telling the judge that he was under the weather and it wouldn’t happen again.

James’ attorneys are trying to have his case moved from Brooklyn to Chicago or a similar city. They argue in court filings that nonstop media coverage characterizing him as “a terrorist, a maniac, a raving madman and an unhinged nihilist obsessed with killing and hatred” makes it impossible for him to get a fair trial in New York City.

Kuntz has yet to rule on their request to move the trial.

James is charged with committing a terrorist attack on a mass transit system and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. His trial is slated to begin as soon as Feb. 27, 2023.

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