Prosecutor seeks no bond for suspect in 2 officers’ slayings

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A prosecutor is asking that the suspect in the fatal shooting of two Ohio police officers be held without bail or bond as the potential death penalty case proceeds. Thirty-year-old Quentin Smith is charged with aggravated murder in the Feb. 10 shootings of Westerville officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli. They were responding to a 911 hang-up call at Smith's home in the Columbus suburb. Smith is scheduled to make an appearance in Franklin County Municipal Court on Tuesday. Court records listed no attorney for him ahead of his arraignment. Smith was wounded during the shooting and then hospitalized. The Columbus Dispatch reports he's been moved to the county jail. Meanwhile, people continued paying respects at Westerville's temporary memorial to the officers. It is expected to be dismantled this week. Continue Reading

Cuomo’s bail reform effort spurs debate

Critics of practice say it unfairly penalizes those who cannot come up with money By Steve Hughes Updated 11:10 pm, Saturday, February 10, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-7', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 7', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: John Carl D'Annibale Image 1of/7 CaptionClose Image 1 of 7 Buy photo The offices of Bernardo Goldstein & Quinn, based in Albany, are among the bail bonds and insurance agencies in the region. (John Carl D'Annibale/Times Union) The offices of Bernardo Goldstein & Quinn, based in Albany, are among the bail bonds and insurance agencies in the region. (John Carl D'Annibale/Times Union) Photo: John Carl D'Annibale Buy this photo Image 2 of 7 Buy photo The offices of Bernardo Goldstein & Quinn, based in Albany, are among the bail bonds and insurance agencies in the region. (John Carl D'Annibale/Times Union) The offices of Bernardo Goldstein & Quinn, based in Albany, are among the bail bonds and insurance agencies in the region. (John Carl D'Annibale/Times Union) Photo: John Carl D'Annibale Buy this photo Image 3 of 7 Photo illustration -- The chance New York joins several other states that have enacted bail reform measures appear to be growing. (Philip Kamrass/Times Union archive) Photo illustration -- The chance New York joins several other states that have enacted bail reform measures appear to be Continue Reading

Brooklyn judge ripped for freeing man accused of grabbing at cop’s gun, three others without bail

Just call her Turn ’Em Loose Loren. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Loren Baily-Schiffman, 65, has come under fire after releasing four men, including one who allegedly tried to steal a cop’s gun, without bail on Sunday. “It’s outrageous!” fumed Dennis Quirk, who represents state court officers. “She should be demoted back to civil court.” Baily-Schiffman was elected as a civil court judge in 1999. She was later appointed to the more high-profile post of acting Brooklyn Supreme Court judge, where she handles weekend arraignments. In that role, she released Kurdel Emmanuel, 29, who was charged with trying to snatch a police officer’s gun inside the waiting area of the 83rd Precinct stationhouse on Knickerbocker Ave. in Bushwick around 11:15 a.m. on Saturday. The prosecutor asked that Emmanuel be held on $250,000 bail, but Baily-Schiffman let him go without bail, court records show. The Office of Court Administration defended Baily-Schiffman on Monday. “A judge has broad discretion when deciding to set bail or bond,” said court system spokesman Lucian Chalfen. Baily-Schiffman made a similar decision in the Derrick Gadson case. A shirtless Gadson, 56, allegedly threatened to kill Sister Maria Amador as she prayed inside the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights at about 2 p.m. Wednesday. Prosecutors requested that he be held on $25,000 bail at the hearing Sunday, court records show. Instead, she placed him into Mayor de Blasio’s Supervised Release Program. On Sunday, Baily-Schiffman also let go two men charged with a hate crime after they allegedly punched an African-American man while spewing racial slurs. Rudolph Evmeneko, 27, and Bernard Szurant, 25, allegedly began their assault on John Godwin, 42, as he walked past them with his girlfriend at E. 17th St. and Ave. R in Sheepshead Bay at 5:50 a.m. on Saturday. “You punk mother------, you punk Continue Reading

Woman, 87, scammed out of $15K by phony son who said he needed bail money

An 87-year-old Hackettstown woman is out $15,000 after she fell victim to a phone scammer claiming to be her son, said police.The woman, who received the call the morning of Sept. 25, told the man on the phone that he didn't sound like her son, reports show. The caller told her he had a cold and then passed the phone to another man who said he was her son's lawyer, said Sgt. Darren Tynan.The man who identified himself as her son's attorney, told the victim she needed to send $15,000 in order to pay for the bail.The woman told police she withdrew $15,000 in cash and sent the money via FedEx to an address in Westland, Michigan. One of the suspects called the woman again and asked for an additional $10,000, and whether or not she had any stocks or bonds. MORE CRIME: Sexy scammer gets $1,000 to not post Hanover man’s cybersex video HURRICANE MARIA: Rescued dogs from Puerto Rico arrive in Morristown Following those inquiries, the woman became suspicious she had been scammed and called police, according to Tynan.A check of the phone number used by the scammers revealed it was a voice-over-internet phone number. Hackettstown investigators have contacted Westland police about the incident, according to Tynan. Staff Writer William Westhoven: 973-917-9242; [email protected] Continue Reading

Bond companies ‘extremely worried’ as Arizona moves away from cash bail bonds

Every three hours, family members and friends of alleged lawbreakers sit in a tiny, windowless waiting room in downtown Phoenix, straining to hear the fate of their loved ones. Through a monitor, they can watch as the defendants approach a judge and listen to the allegations of crimes committed. The big moment comes at the end, when the judge reveals the bond amount. "You have a $5,000 secured appearance bond in this court case, sir," she tells one man accused of possessing dangerous drugs. A floppy-haired young man accused of resisting arrest is released on his own recognizance.In the lobby, there are small celebrations and sighs of relief for the good news. For the high bonds, family members curse or shake their heads. Celebrations may be even more likely as the months pass.A metamorphosis is underway in the state's pretrial release system. Through judges' directives, Arizona courts appear to be paving the way to wipe out the financial-bail model.Judges have been urged to rely on individuals' personal risk factors to determine their release conditions rather than a standardized dollar amount based on allegations.Proponents for bail reform say changes could ensure that low-risk defendants aren’t sitting in jail just because they are poor, and high-risk defendants aren’t released because they can foot the bill.An April 3 rule change set in motion by the Arizona Supreme Court urges judges to embrace the risk-assessment system, spelling out the release options that should be favored over the ones that require a bail-bond company. “This is a major undertaking,” said Jerry Landau, government-affairs director for the Arizona Supreme Court. “It’s a major step in criminal-justice reform that affects the community and affects many people who come in contact with the criminal-justice system.”The move is energizing criminal-justice reform advocates but stoking fear among the state’s bail-bonds Continue Reading

Bronx judge sets $5 million bond for accused  drug-dealing cop at heart of ticket-fixing scandal

The accused drug-running cop at the heart of the police ticket-fixing scandal was slapped Monday with a sky-high $5 million bond. Lawyers for Jose Ramos asked Bronx Judge Steven Barrett to issue a lower bond or reduce the $500,000 bail that their client has been unable to make, claiming he deserves to take part in his own defense. But Barrett instead hit Ramos with the weighty bond, calling the charges against the cop "equivalent with the most serious crimes seen in this court." Ramos is accused of 26 criminal counts, including attempted robbery and transporting what he thought was heroin for drug dealers operating out of two Bronx barbershops. He was caught on a wire talking about fixing summonses, prosecutors say. Defense lawyers Rita Dave and Dawn Florio said Monday they plan to appeal the bail and bond amounts. Defense lawyer John Sandleitner, who represented Ramos until the two split up in February, previously requested a bail reduction but was denied. "We want a figure that could be attainable," Dave said. "To set a number that no average human being can post is clearly punitive." Friends and family are willing to put up real estate and other property to free Ramos, she said. "But they can't make $5 million bond or $500,000 cash," she said, noting Dominique Strauss-Kahn had the same bond amount. "DSK can make $5 million." For now, Ramos will remain on Rikers Island, where his sister and lawyers claim the 40th Precinct cop is being abused by his guards. Ramos appeared in court via video conference Monday because the "box handcuffs" used for transporting high-profile inmates have damaged tendons in his thumb and hand, Florio said. Correction officers have forced him to strip naked in front of female guards and video cameras, said his sister Yolanda Ramos. Jose Ramos has been unable to access the Rikers law library, has gone without the orthopedic sneakers he needs to exercise and has been denied a haircut for three months, Florio Continue Reading

Brooklyn parolee jumps turnstile; had unlimited Metrocard, but dodging $2.25 fare costs him $5K bail

A Brooklyn parolee had a MetroCard in his pocket when he got caught jumping a turnstile -- an arrest that sent him back behind bars on a $5,000 bond. It appears 26-year-old Chad Chambers made quite the $2.25 blunder, the cost of a single ride on the subway. Chambers' lawyer was outraged and filed an emergency petition, getting him sprung two days later on his own recognizance. "I genuinely don't know why this would happen," lawyer Brian Crow said on the brow-raising bond. "It's clearly excessive." Chambers was released in 2008 after serving three years in prison on a conviction for attempted robbery. He has a pending robbery case and a history of missing court appearances, records show. "The guy is not a saint," Crow said. "But a sinner who jumps the turnstile doesn't deserve that." Chambers was busted in East Flatbush about two weeks ago for doubling up -- following another straphanger through the turnstile on a single fare. At his arraignment on Aug. 14, his lawyer told Criminal Court Justice John Wilson that his client had an unlimited MetroCard in his pocket at the time of his arrest. "I have no reason to doubt your word," Wilson replied, according to a court transcript. The prosecutor offered 15 days in jail for the misdemeanor fare-beating and asked that Chambers be held on $1,000 bail. The judge upped the request more than twofold: he set a $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. And he scheduled the next court date for Sept. 22 which could have kept Chambers behind bars for 39 days. When Crow took the case to the Supreme Court two days later, prosecutors agreed to release Chambers on his own recognizance. Such a change of heart from the district attorney "is extremely unusual," Crow said. Judge Wilson is notorious for setting sky-high bails, often higher than what prosecutors ask for, courthouse insiders said. "Bail is used to ensure the defendant's return to court," said Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver. "We have a system of Continue Reading

Bogus cancer doctor charged with sexually molesting his sedated cancer patients, held on $33M bond

He may be the creepiest quack in Brooklyn - a bogus cancer doctor charged with a crime so heinous it earned him the highest bail in state history.Michail Sorodsky, 63, not only failed to heal the gravely ill women who forked over wads of cash for his holistic therapies, he sexually molested them and even raped at least one sedated patient, prosecutors say.Jury selection in the skin-crawling case begins in Brooklyn Supreme Court this week while Sorodsky continues to be held on an eye-popping $11 million cash bail or $33 million bond a figure higher - more than even Bernie Madoff faced.Authorities say Sorodsky slathered his victims in a probiotic yogurt, inserting the concoction into their genitalia, claiming they would be healed."He tells people he can cure them, and nobody gets better," said prosecutor Thomas Schellhammer, of the state's Attorney General's office. Sorodsky, who isn't licensed to practice medicine, is facing 102 counts ranging from rape to fraud.All the charges stem from just eight victims, but prosecutors say he treated hundreds of people - mainly Russian immigrants in Brooklyn who paid as much as $1,000 per visit.The late Malka Klots was a patient. When her daughter Rimma heard of Sorodsky's unorthodox treatment for liver cancer, she sensed something was fishy. So she posed as a patient and was horrified by what she found at Sorodsky's Sheepshead Bay office."What he was doing was, he was giving a gynecological exam, and he was giving a breast exam. It wasn't necessary. It didn't feel like a doctor's examination," the 46-year-old teacher recalled. "He did say inappropriate things. Something like, 'Your breasts look good.'"She filed a complaint with the Division of Licensing, which led to an investigation that ended with Sorodsky's 2007 arrest.It was too late for her mother, who died in 2001 after her cancer spread to her spine."She put everything into this treatment, all her hope," Rimma Klots said.In court, Sorodsky cuts a bizarre spectacle. Continue Reading

Madoff victims lobby judge to deny Frank DiPascali Jr. bail: It’s our money he’d be using, they say

Bernie Madoff's top lieutenant comes up for bail today - and some of the fraudster's bitter victims are angry that their money could be used to buy his freedom. "Everything he has was stolen from us. How can he post bail with stolen money? How is that fair?" asked Laurence Leif, who owned a New York scuba gear company and then lost the $8 million fortune he amassed over 40 years. Leif is asking the judge to deny the prosecution's attempt to reward Frank DiPascali Jr. for rolling on his boss and various accomplices by allowing him out on bail. Law enforcement sources say DiPascali was providing key information about how much top Madoff beneficiary Jeffry Picower really knew. Picower, 67, who walked away with $7 billion over the years, drowned Sunday in his Florida swimming pool. DiPascali, who made $2 million a year as Madoff's chief financial officer, was the man most investors dealt with about their accounts. "He was very rough, very short with you. He didn't want to answer any questions. His answer was always, 'It's proprietary,'" Leif said. When the scam fell apart, DiPascali confessed he knew that Madoff's fund wasn't doing any trading. He had even set up an account for himself with Madoff from which he withdrew more than $5 million, without ever making a deposit. DiPascali, who faces up to 125 years in prison, is to be sentenced in May. In the meantime, he promised to "tell all," so prosecutors want to let him go home if he wears a monitoring bracelet, signs a $10 mllion personal recognizance bond, and puts up $2 million, plus his sister's $500,000 retirement savings. District Judge Richard Sullivan has balked at granting bail, calling DiPascali a flight risk. In an emotional letter, Leif asked the judge to keep the self-confessed crook behind bars. "Please do not let justice fail us once more," Leif wrote. "Mr. DiPascali was the instrument for taking my life away. ... Why torment us any more by letting him out on Continue Reading


P HOENIX - If Barry Bonds is smart - and there's no proof he's ever been Mensa material - he wouldn't put away his blond wig and falsies just yet. If ever Bonds needed a disguise, it is now. If he cared about repairing the great damage he has done to a great game, he wouldn't dare show his freakishly massive head in any ballpark ever again. If he had any decency left in his needle-pricked behind, he would slip quietly into the shadows with all the other selfish cheats and greedy liars and never be heard from again. At least Jason Giambi had the courage to sort-of apologize for whatever illegal measures he took that made his muscles go boom. Bonds' ego always has been his weakest link. Had he 'fessed up years ago, when the BALCO scandal was just beginning to howl, the public would have understood. Americans like their idols slightly flawed. But no, Bonds had to get up in the world's face and dare it to find proof. And when it did, when excerpts from a meticulously researched book by a pair of San Francisco Chronicle reporters began to appear yesterday, Bonds scurried away like the weakest of wimps. Bonds wasn't shy about playing the clown in front of the documentary crew that is handsomely paying him to star in his own reality show. During batting practice at Scottsdale Stadium, Bonds kissed his bat, and when the crew went off to interview Willie Mays, you half expected Paula Abdul to jump out of the bushes and start weeping. No doubt the documentary folks asked Willie all sorts of probing questions about his adorable godson. Say, Willie, is it true Barry was swinging a bat when he was in diapers? Like everyone else wired to the MLB pipeline, Bonds knew of the impending book, "Game of Shadows," in which investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams detail Bonds' prolific consumption of steroids and human growth hormone. Bonds had two years to think of some sort of reply - sorry would have sufficed - but all he could manage was a snicker Continue Reading