Early Evening News: Crime Related

I'm still at work, but here's the latest news:

  • Sen. Dick Durbin goes to bat for former Ill. Gov. George Ryan, asking President Bush to pardon Ryan. I hope Bush listens. His efforts towards a moratorium on the death penalty and his emptying the state's death row due to the large number of wrongfully convicted inmates warrant a pardon.
  • PA Gov. Ed Rendell has dropped the moratorium on parole for violent felons. The ban was imposed in September.
    [A] review found the state's evaluation and supervision of parolees were largely effective.
  • Giants receiver Plaxico Burress appeared in state court on charges of criminal possession of a handgun. Bail in $100k. He has a top notch lawyer, Ben Brafman, who has also represented Sean Combs, among others. Facts below:

The police said that Burress arrived at the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan on Friday at 11:30 p.m. with four others, including teammates linebacker Antonio Pierce and Derrick Ward. The other two members of their party were not football players, according to police. At 12:05 a.m., a single gunshot is heard.

The criminal complaint, released by prosecutors Monday, said that an onlooker saw Burress near the V.I.P. area of the club holding a drink in his left hand and fidgeting his right hand in the area of the waistline of his pants. The witness then heard a single “pop” sound before hearing Burress say, “Take me to the hospital.”

Burress was on the ground, with his legs shaking, when a bloody gun — a .40-caliber Glock pistol — fell out of his pant leg and onto the floor, the onlooker said. Later, Burress, who does not have a permit to carry a handgun in New York City, was treated and released at a hospital before returning to his home in Totowa, N.J.

Dumb? Yes. But worth a three year mandatory minimum sentence? I don't think so.

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  • Display: Sort:
    It seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Steve M on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 07:05:52 PM EST
    that Gov. Ryan's criminal justice acts, laudable though they are, simply have nothing to do with the crime for which he was properly convicted and sentenced.  Heck, there's lots of people in prison who would be more than happy to sign a moratorium on executions - Gov. Ryan just happened to be the only one with the power to do it!  For my money, government corruption is one of those crimes that simply shouldn't ever be pardoned, because there's too much capacity for self-dealing once you go down that road.

    In terms of Plaxico Burress, I wonder if he'll have a viable Heller v. DC argument.  Also, just as with Michael Vick's marijuana stash, I wonder if someone in his position isn't supposed to have a guy to carry that thing for him.

    You have to be exceptionally. . . (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 08:31:17 PM EST
    dim not to know the penalties for carrying a loaded unlicensed weapon in New York -- penalties that were not invented simply for this idiot who apparently believed that his wealth gave him the right to take a loaded gun into a crowded public accommodation in which alcohol is consumed.

    If you figure the gun could easily have accidentally shot someone else, or been used on purpose during some otherwise non-lethal encounter, I think Burress is lucky to only be facing three years.

    Plus, of course, with all that money and those jewels, he'll be able to buy himself a level of justice not accessible to other people.

    This is an absolutely classic case of exactly what those laws were intended to prevent and I see no reason whatsoever that leniency should apply.

    Yeah, I'm not keen on being out somewhere (none / 0) (#8)
    by nycstray on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 08:56:16 PM EST
    with some yahoo in the crowd who has a loaded pistol and doesn't know how to secure it properly.

    Don't they screen in a lot of clubs?

    He really seems to have been bitten by the stupid bug this year. What a waste.


    I ain't keen on it either... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 08:50:10 AM EST
    I abhor guns, but we can't uninvent them, and people seem to like them.

    That's freedom baby, and I'll take it, warts and all.  Now if only it was offered somewhere on this planet...warts and all:)


    Normal people... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 09:27:24 PM EST
    ... who get arrested for carrying an unlicensed gun don't normally have the mayor of New York go on television to tell everyone they are guilty and should get the maximum sentence.

    Burress was stupid, and put people at risk. I'm not against him serving time. But if New York has enough jail cells to lock up someone like him for three and a half years, it has too many jail cells.


    Larry my man... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 08:45:55 AM EST
    you obviously have no clue how severe a punishment of three years in a NY State Prison is.  Caging a human being for 3 years is no joke, especially when there is no victim to speak of.

    Burress is a moron, but jail-time is excessive for anybody whose only crime is possesing an illegal gun.  If he had accidentally shot somebody than jail time would be in order, but he shot himself for crying out loud.

    Heck, Burress and similar offenders shouldn't get 3 years for no other reason than the state is broke and can't afford to be so willy-nilly with the chain and cage treatment anymore, we need to prioritize how we spend our incarceration dollars and save it for the real serious threats to public safety, and not every knucklehead who doesn't wanna jump through the multiple hoops required to excercise your right to bear arms in this state.


    Fortunately. . . (none / 0) (#14)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 09:35:28 AM EST
    Burress is a moron, but jail-time is excessive for anybody whose only crime is possesing an illegal gun.

    The vast majority of New York disagrees with you.

    The quality of the penal system and New York's fiscal situation, while important, are quite separate from the issue of whether idiots ought to be allowed (which is what you're really calling for) to bring illegal loaded weapons into crowded public accommodations.


    There is middle ground... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 09:56:35 AM EST
    between allowing possesion of loaded firearms without a permit and a 3 year (over 1000 days) mandatory minimum punishment for it.

    I mean c'mon...over 1000 days?  Think about it.  In my mind, if you go to jail for 3 years there better damn will be an identifiable victim.  There is no victim here...nobody got robbed, nobody got assaulted, nobody got raped, nobody got shot...except Burress himself.  In fact, you could say he took care of his own punishment, saved us the trouble:)


    Coulda shot his pecker off. (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 11:39:10 AM EST
    George Ryan (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by uncledad on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 08:50:30 PM EST
    Is in prison for good reason. He sold drivers licenses to the highest political contributors and used his office (both governor and sec. of state) to conduct pure political business. The case that really did him in was a family that was involved in a horrible accident (all the children were burned to death) that was the fault of a truck driver who illegally obtained his license from one of Ryan's political hacks; the proceeds from the illegal license went to Ryan's election fund. He is a corrupt politician who deserves to be were he is (Oxford federal penitentiary).

    Eli did much better with the shotgun yesterday (none / 0) (#2)
    by steviez314 on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 07:33:31 PM EST

    Bloomberk aka Guilliani II (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 07:41:28 PM EST
    Is pushing for a 3 1/2 year sentence.

    And good on Durbin for going to bat for former Gov. George Ryan. Unfortunately as regards capitol punishment, GW, former Gov of Texacutus aka Hang 'em state, is not looking kindly to Ryan, because he pardoned so many death row cases among others upon retirement.

    Twice dumb. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 08:33:13 PM EST
    Burress was on the ground, with his legs shaking, when a bloody gun -- a .40-caliber Glock pistol -- fell out of his pant leg and onto the floor, the onlooker said. Later, Burress, who does not have a permit to carry a handgun in New York City, was treated and released at a hospital before returning to his home in Totowa, N.J.

    Dumb? Yes. But worth a three year mandatory minimum sentence? I don't think so.

    Dumb in more ways than one.  The Glock has only a trigger safety.  IMHO, carrying a pistol without a thumb safety is to say the least unwise.  A trigger safety?  Hahahahaha  

    It's a multiple (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Makarov on Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 02:10:30 AM EST
    stage "trigger safety" which, if you've never seen or handled a Glock, is difficult to explain. Basically, it's designed so that it won't fire unless you have a finger on the trigger. While I personally prefer a thumb style safety, many people (police departments included) hold the Glock trigger safety in high regard.

    When I initially read the Burress story, the first thing that went through my mind was, "nearly all the time people claim a gun 'just went off' they were handling it improperly". After hearing the firearm was a Glock, I have no doubt that was the case with Burress.

    If you want to laugh at Burress for being an idiot, consider he was more than likely carrying a loaded gun in his waistband, and not in a holster. That and shooting himself, which he certainly did if he had a Glock.


    Thrice dumb (none / 0) (#16)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 10:45:45 AM EST

    I should have noted the first time that carrying without a holster is asking for trouble.  A good holster will hold the weapon secure, and cover the trigger.

    I have handled Glocks.  They can fire if something, not just a finger, is in the trigger guard and pressure is applied.  A number of Glocks have fired while holstering.  Sometimes this has been due to a finger in the wrong place, but sometimes it has been due to an object or part of the holster getting into the trigger guard.

    BTW, many police departments will always find a way to to sing the praises of a low priced pistol.


    A Pardon for Governor Ryan, (none / 0) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 08:53:54 PM EST
    would be a good thing for President Bush to do.  George Ryan's crimes occurred while Illinois Secretary of State.  His tenure as governor, however, in many ways, atoned for his previous actions.    At one time considered a rather conservative Republican, he governed as a moderate and at times, almost liberally.  He angered his Republican wingnuts, who had it in for him, with his progressive stance on rights for gay men and women, and, of course, brought needed national attention to the death penalty with a moratorium.  Ryan was in so many ways a solid citizen, starting as a pharmacist in Kanakee and serving his community. Ryan was found guilty of corruption (including the drivers license scandal/kickbacks resulting in tragedy), and he is now paying for it.  A pardon seems right and just at this point, however.  He is now in his mid-seventies, a disgraced former governor, and a convicted felon. Not a cover-up like a pardon would be for Scooter Libby, or Daddy Bush for Cap Weinberger.  Probably enough for Ryan.

    Release Ryan (none / 0) (#10)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 10:20:34 PM EST
    Considering Ryan's age and health, what is being accomplished by keeping him in prison? And at what cost to the tax payer? Is he really a threat to the community? His career and life have been destroyed.

    I'll go along with Ryan staying in prison when I see some of the Bush people (who deciced that they didn't break any laws because they were above them), behind bars. Their crimes were against the very Constitution that they swore to uphold.