Common Sense: A jury of your peers

I might be the only person in America who did not follow the Zimmerman case in any detail. I cannot tell you if the verdict made sense or not. What I can tell you is the need for a jury verdict to be respected. It is a pivotal point in our justice system.

If the federal government had the ability to re-charge an individual anytime a state verdict was not popular, the very fabric of our constitutionally protected rights would be in danger. The Obama administration and Attorney General Holder must end their toying with new federal charges in this case and simply accept the decision of the Florida jury.

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Unfortunately, the numerous day spa prostitution arrests will not put an end to this plague in our community unless several additional actions are taken.

First and foremost, the arrested individuals need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I think we can safely assume DA Hynes will guarantee that happens. It is just as important, if not more important, that the individuals who owned and operated these locations as well as immediate members of their families not be allowed to re-open anytime soon.

I think State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis are looking at ways to make that a reality. It is also important that landlords take a closer look at to whom they rent their commercial space.

Anyone looking to open a day spa should be considered suspect, with additional inquires made. Certainly, the landlords of the many locations that have been closed are about to find out that they made a bad investment in signing those leases.

Obviously, all day spas are not locations for illegal activity. Nevertheless, when literally almost two dozen open up within a few months in an area less than a square mile, you know something’s not right.

And community complaints were loud and numerous. The police did a good job in conducting the undercover activities that led to the arrests. My only criticism is that it seemed to take a very long time. The complaints began to come in last summer.

I make no representation that I know the best way for the VICE units to conduct a police undercover sting. I simply think that whatever was going on at these locations cannot be allowed to continue for many months before arrests are made.

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I think Senator Golden and Assemblymember Malliotakis’s criticism of the manner in which Councilmember Vincent Gentile released the information concerning the B37 bus route restoration is a simple and valid one.

Both Golden and Malliotakis had the same information as the councilmember that the route would likely be put back into service. They chose not to release the information in advance of the MTA board vote because it was not official and its advertisement could actually put the restoration in jeopardy.

Many communities are not getting their restorations and it’s simply not best to telegraph what your community might be receiving because of potential interaction against your service restoration by a councilmember or other elected official from another area that is in competition for the limited ability of the MTA to restore services.

Golden — who I serve as chief of staff — and Malliotakis viewed the pre-announcement by the councilmember as potentially threatening the restoration, which is something they had worked very hard to bring about.

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