Category Archives: New York

Donald Trump does not Respect the Judicial System

Screenshot_20171101-135912Donald Trump, currently President of the United States, made comments today that make clear he does not respect our constitutionally based justice system. Discussing the process for prosecuting the New York City terrorist, Trump stated at a cabinet meeting, “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughing stock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.” Fox News, in their online story about the piece, edited the quote to make it sound like he was talking about the immigration system. This quote was not about immigration. This line was about the United States criminal justice system, which Trump has insulted.

This should come as no surprise, as his imperiousness as president has frequently stepped on Constitutional protections. Famously, Trump took out full page ads in NY City papers in 1989 during the prosecution of the “Central Park Five”: 5 young men who were wrongly accused of a brutal beating and rape of a jogger in Central Park. “Muggers and murderers,” he wrote, “should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.” “Though he didn’t refer to the teenagers by name, it was clear to anyone in the city that he was referring to them,” said the New York Times. The botched prosecution led to the wrong men being locked up for years, and the actual criminal, serial rapist Matias Reyes, continued to roam the streets attacking women. Even after DNA proved their innocence, and the exonerations are now an exemplar of poor police procedures and wrongful prosecution: a fact the Trump still has not acknowledged. “Quick”, by necessity, has to take a back seat to the more important principle of “justice”.

It’s ironic that he would call the criminal justice system a laughingstock the same week his former campaign chair and other advisers had charges brought against them in Federal court. They are probably happy to be out on bond as their cases are pending, and glad to avail all possible defenses under the Constitution. It’s easy to point at an evil person like the man who drove into a crowd of innocent bikers in New York… but, the Constitution protects us all. The justice system is not one size fits all, and most of the Constitutional protections are to prevent Government overreach, they are to prevent the violations of those rightly and wrongly accused. Our justice system has developed over that last two centuries as a model replicated around the world.

We all want to see justice brought to the New York City terrorist, and all those who would commit crimes against our people. But the system is not a joke. As an attorney, both prosecutor and defense attorney, respect for the Constitution and respect for our individual rights are the starting point for justice, and it is disappointing, albeit not surprising, for Donald Trump to disparage that. This is not a partisan issue… like many Republicans, I believe in our Constitution and our justice system. It’s flawed, and those of us who work in it are always working to better it, but it is not a joke. And I hope that the leaders in this country, on both sides of the aisle, stand up to speak up for it.

-UPDATE-

The White House later tried to walk back Trump’s comments about the justice system. At a briefing later in the day, spokesperson Sarah Sanders denied that Trump said our justice system was a laughingstock, and tried to claim that he was saying the process has people calling us a joke. Video LINK. But that’s not what he said… very clearly he was the one calling it a joke. Here’s his full quote:

“They’ll go through court for years,” he said. “And at the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens. We need quick justice, and we need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.”

The fact that they are trying to reframe the president’s comments shows that they know they are inappropriate. The fact that the White House spokesperson is straight up lying to us about what the president said is embarrassing. I’ll leave it to you to decide who is the joke, here. Sadly, it’s no laughing matter.

Advertisements

Guy Commits Coolest $1.6 Million Armored Car Robbery Ever

 

groundhog_day_movie_posterEver see the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? There’s a scene where Murray’s character, Phil, times the behavior of armored guards to walk up and steal a bag of money when they aren’t looking. Some guy in New York actually pulled that off!

Here’s the scene from Goundhog Day, if you haven’t seen it before. It makes more sense to know that Bill Murray is reliving the same day over and over again, so he knows what’s going to happen…

So, a guy in New York just pulled off that move. He walked up to an unguarded armored truck, snatched a bucket of money, and walked off. The whole thing was caught on camera, and NYPD Crimestoppers are looking for tips if anyone recognized the guy. Here’s the footage of the sneaky thief:

Here’s the amazing thing… this guy didn’t just get a bucket of change. The bucket he swiped was full of gold! The five-gallon pail had 82 pounds of flaked gold, worth $1.6 million dollars. It was so heavy, it took him an hour to walk a few blocks where he got in a van to make his escape. Police pieced all this together by reviewing the surveillance footage in the video, above. They still have not identified him, and are looking for tips.

bucket-thief

Screen Capture of the Groundhog-style Thief

I called this a robbery in the title, but it’s really more of a simple grand theft. Robbery typically indicates taking property from a person, but there’s nobody here. It’s like shoplifting, except from an armored car. It’s exactly like the Groundhog Day, theft, so I’m beside myself because it’s one of my favorite movies. But this guy didn’t plan it out… he probably just saw an opportunity, and got really lucky. Winner, winner, chicken dinner and bucket of gold. I think they have an idea who it is, because investigators think the suspect is laying low in Florida. Because of course he is. Just so EPIC.

Holy Police Car! Batman Arrested in Seattle

I should say “wanna be Batman”, as I have a feeling it wasn’t Bruce Wayne. Police in Washington were called out to a bar regarding a man assaulting the bouncers with a knife affixed to a pole. After threatening an employee with his spear, the man fled with officers in pursuit. He threw something at the vehicle, and officers later discovered it was a Batarang: a sharpened ninja star in the shape of a bat. This Batman didn’t get away, and was arrested for felonious assault, and more charges expected.

batarang

The Batarang recovered from the police vehicle

From SPD blotter via Jalopnik.

batman_arrestWe’ve covered some superhero arrests on Crimcourts before, and in researching this, I discovered that there had been some Batman arrests that I had missed. None of them involved a Batarang, however.

Federal Court Throws out Stingray Evidence

This week a federal court ruled that evidence collected by use of a Stingray was inadmissible where a warrant was not obtained. Stingrays are devices that mimic cell phone towers. They allow government agents to track the whereabouts of cell phones without the knowledge of the cell phone users. It is unknown how many agencies employ the use of Stingrays, because they also promise to keep them secret when they acquire them.

The DOJ issued a policy that their agents are supposed to get warrants before using the devices. That was a smart move, predicting the legal outcome when the Stingray evidence was challenged. This investigation occurred before that change in policy, and if the Feds had continued to collect this evidence without warrants… a lot more cases would be in Jeopardy. The DOJ policy does not govern local law enforcement agencies, who stand to have a lot of evidence in jeopardy if they have not been obtaining warrants, in light of this Federal Court decision.

Spider-Man Showed up to Court in Costume

spidey

Recent Spider-Man Altercation

We’ve covered some of the Times Square character antics… too many times the people dressed up and taking photographs for tips have gotten into altercations with tourists, and even with each, when turf arguments arise. Another Spidey got arrested a few days ago and took it to another level, when he showed up for court in costume. The judge was not amused, as it was his second arrest, and said if he gets charged again, bond would be set so high that he would not be able to get out.

This case is interesting, in that Batman was taking pictures with Spidey, and when the argument after they got stiffed by the tourists started escalating, whipped out the phone on his utility belt and started recording. He claims that the tourist was the aggressor. The cops found both parties at fault, and charged both Spider-Man and the Tourist with assault. It will be interesting to see what happens at trial…and whether Spidey’s lawyer can convince him it is in his best interest to appear in the manner of his alter-ego.

via NY Post.

Woman who Assisted New York Prison Break Sentenced to Prison

Joyce Mitchell

Joyce Mitchell

Joyce Mitchell, the prison employee who gave assistance New York prisoners Richard Matt and David Sweat- who were both serving prison sentences for murder was sentenced yesterday for her involvement in their escape. In July, she pled to promoting prison contraband, and criminal facilitation. Today, declaring that she had done very bad things, the court sentenced her to up to 7 years on the most serious offense.

She could have been facing more time if the prosecutors had charged her with conspiracy to murder her husband, which had apparently been discussed. She accepted a plea agreement that helped avoid additional charges. Now, she will be a client of the same prison system that she let down, and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in cost for the ensuing manhunt for the weeks while Matt and Sweat were on the run.

So, Spider-Man Got in Another Fight in Times Square (video)

This is the third Spider-Man fight we’ve covered in NYC/Times Square. So far, no charges have been filed in this one, as Spidey was apparently defending other costumed characters from a racist heckler. Apparently this was a different Spider-Man than the one who ran into legal troubles last year. No word on whether Elmo was involved this time. Who knows, but Geoff Goldberg has posted footage of the altercation on Twitter: