Tag Archives: queens da

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Overcast with rain showers, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 70. Windy. Winds from the SW at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible. Friday night: Clear in the evening, then overcast. Low of 55. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW after midnight.

EVENT OF THE DAY: “Raus! Get Outta Here!” 

The Eclipses Group Theater, in collaboration with The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY, presents “Raus! Get Outta Here!” a play by M. Reppas and T. Papathanasiou. The play satirizes the current social milieu and financial problems currently affecting Greece. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sundays from November 1 -30. at the Stathakeion Cultural Center in Astoria. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Federal court grants stay on stop-and-frisk decision

A federal court halted the decision that requires reforms to the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk practice. Read more: The Queens Courier

New York City school suspensions drop by 23 Percent

The number of New York City students suspended from school has dropped by 23 percent. Read more: NBC New York

Judge prepares to take on NYPD, Queens D.A. in court

The NYPD was dealing with another controversy involving a judge on Thursday night. Read more: CBS New York

Only 6 able to sign up on healthcare.gov’s first day, documents show

Only six people were able to enroll for health insurance through the Obamacare website on the first day, according to documents released Thursday by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Read more: NBC New York

Bidding on $50 Banksy painting tops $310,000

Bidding on a painting that British graffiti artist Banksy bought for $50 and altered has climbed to more than $310,000. Read more: AP




Op-Ed: The impact of DNA cold hits on solving crimes

| oped@queenscourier.com


Last week my office announced that a Queens grand jury had indicted Jose Martinez for raping and murdering a 23-year-old Astoria woman in 2009. Martinez was indicted as a result of a DNA cold hit following a 2012 reckless endangerment conviction for which he was required to provide a DNA sample.  That sample is alleged to have matched blood and semen found on the murder victim. Once again, DNA collected for a relatively low-level, nonviolent offense proved to be one of the most powerful tools ever developed to solve cold cases and prevent other crimes.

Since New York’s DNA data bank was created 17 years ago, it has significantly enhanced criminal justice in the state. Yet, as effective as the data bank proved during the early years in solving cold cases, I was convinced that we could do more.  For instance, until 2012, DNA samples were being collected from only 48 percent of all those convicted of crimes in New York – meaning that more than half of all people proven guilty and convicted of crimes were still leaving our courts without being required to provide a DNA sample.  This made no sense since experience taught that the few times the DNA data bank had been expanded by legislation, thousands more cold cases were solved and countless crimes surely had been prevented. Even when, in 2006, just 35 misdemeanors were added to the list of crimes for which DNA could be collected, DNA leads were generated in more than 3,000 serious cold felony cases.

With this is mind, representatives of my office, along with crime victims and their families and others, met with elected officials in Albany last year to explain the need for more expansive DNA collection.  Experience showed that many criminals went on to commit more violent crimes and that between these violent crimes, there were often brief moments these criminals could be stopped when they came in contact with the criminal justice system for low-level offenses.  By obtaining DNA samples for those low-level convictions, DNA could be used to identify the perpetrators of cold cases before they went on to commit more violent acts.  And more importantly, by bringing these violent criminals to justice more quickly, we could bring an end to the fear and some of the pain in which their victims live.

Our elected officials listened and enacted historic legislation last year that expanded DNA collection to essentially all criminal convictions, and as last week’s indictment of Jose Martinez for rape and murder shows, nothing offers a surer way to identify a perpetrator in a cold case than DNA.



Mother of unarmed man killed by NYPD meets with Queens DA

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NY1

A day before burying her son killed by police during a traffic stop, Cecilia Reyes met today with the Queens district attorney.

Noel Polanco’s mother, along with her lawyer Sanford Rubenstein, met with DA Richard Brown for about a half hour today, according to reports, and was told the case will likely be heading to a grand jury.

“The district attorney this morning committed to a independent investigation,” Rubenstein said to reporters on the scene outside the Queens County Courthouse.

Reyes said she just wants the investigation handled correctly.

“All I want is justice,” she said. “I don’t want this to be repeated.”

Brown released a statement saying the “decisions in this case will be based solely on the facts and the law.”

Earlier this week Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also said he expected a grand jury investigation.

Polanco was fatally shot on the Grand Central Parkway last week after being pulled over for erratic driving. Reports said Polanco was shot after reaching below his seat. Diane DeFerrari, a passenger in the car, said his hands never left the wheel. No weapon was found in the car.