- Last Updated: 11:44 PM, July 4, 2012
- Posted: July 05, 2012
For the second time in a week, a state appeals court has dealt a serious blow to the Police Department’s uphill battle to keep New York’s streets safe.
Once again, three justices voted to throw out the stop-and-frisk arrest of a 14-year-old armed thug-in-training, saying the officers on the scene lacked “reasonable suspicion” to make the bust.
Never mind that the youth was carrying a handgun loaded with 11 bullets and $963 in cash in a prime drug-trafficking area.
Never mind that undercover cops had seen him take an object out of his waistband and put it into his backpack.
Or that the nervous youth couldn’t tell cops where he was going, other than an address written on his forearm.
Because police couldn’t say with absolute certainty that the object in his waistband was a gun, wrote Justice Angela Mazzarelli (joined by Dianne Renwick and loony-left icon Helen Freedman), they had no right to search him.
And so another young thug walks free.
Just like Darryl Craig, the 14-year-old whose arrest was invalidated by three other justices of the Appellate Division, First Department on similar grounds — that the officer involved had only acted on a “hunch.”
The hunch, of course, proved to be correct — Craig was carrying a loaded .25 Colt semiautomatic in his pocket.
And it turned out that three months after that incident, he found another gun and cold-bloodedly shot another man twice.
New York’s judges have a long and disturbing history of bending over backward to protect criminal defendants — public safety be damned.
Twenty years ago, as the crack wars raged, the Court of Appeals invalidated the arrest of a 13-year-old suspected runaway at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
She had placed her bag on the floor; when a cop picked it up to move it, he felt the butt and trigger of a gun. A search discovered four weapons and ammunition.
In that case, the court flat-out rejected the notion of a “plain touch” exception to the search-warrant rule — despite the obvious fact that the bag held guns.
The city has come a long way since those blood-drenched days, but it’s no exaggeration to suggest that a return to knee-jerk jurisprudence of that sort will drag the city back to the bad old days.
It could happen in the flash of an eye.
Do New Yorkers really want to go there again?Follow @NYPostOpinion