• Kathy Hochul hits back in budget-tied bail fight after progressives claim ‘gloves off’

    The embattled governor doubled down on threats to hold up a state budget deal unless the state Senate and Assembly give in on her bail proposal.

  • ‘Get that camera out of my client’s face’: Gwyneth Paltrow Lawyer is ‘Mad’ as Camera Points at Actress in Courtroom

    The lawyer for Gwyneth Paltrow is complaining about courtroom and parking lot cameras pointing at the Academy Award-winning actress.

    As CrimeOnline previously reported, Paltrow is currently on trial in Park City, Utah, after a skier, identified as Dr. Terry Sanderson, sued her following a 2016 “hit and run” ski crash behind the Deer Valley resort. Sanderson, according to Fox News Digital, is suing Paltrow for $300,000.

    On Wednesday, Paltrow’s lead defense attorney, Stephen Owen,s complained about “cameras in her face” to Third District Court Judge Kent Holmberg.

    “Your honor, we have a new camera pointed directly at my client,” Owens said. “Right there, on the right, which I understand is from the AP.”

    “This has been a problem where, for instance, reporters being in front of my client’s car. Going out, yesterday, cameras in her face.”

    Holmberg said he recognized the issue inside the court and would have a court representative investigate “and make sure it’s pointed at the lectern rather than at the counsel table,” Law & Crime reports.

    “I recognize it as a problem,” the judge said.

    Watch the court clip below. 

    Sanderson’s lawyers accuse Paltrow of fleeing the scene while on her skis and not offering assistance, which left the doctor with “permanent traumatic brain injury, 4 broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life,” court documents state.

    “Distracted skiers cause crashes. Defendant Gwyneth Paltrow knew that looking up the mountain and to the side, while skiing down the mountain, was dangerous,” Sanderson’s attorney, Lawrence D. Buhler, said during opening statements. “And she knew that skiing that way … was reckless.”

    A complaint filed in 2019 accused Paltrow of leaving “Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured,” while a Deer Valley ski instructor also allegedly skied away after witnessing the crash.

    Paltrow countersued Sanderson and claimed he was the one who crashed into her. She’s suing for the cost of legal fees and $1 in damages.

    Her attorneys told the court Tuesday that she sustained a “full body blow” after Sanderson crashed into her, calling the defense’s story “BS,” AP reports.

    Terry Sanderson arrives at court Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Park City, Utah. The retired optometrist is suing actor Gwyneth Paltrow over a 2016 ski collision that took place at Deer Valley Resort. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

    Paltrow’s attorney, Steve Owen, said people who were skiing with the actress stopped to check on Sanderson, who assured the group that he was fine. Sanderson reportedly did not deny the accusation but claimed he couldn’t remember what he said.

    “His memories of the case get better over the years. That’s all I’m gonna say. That’s not how memory works,” Owens replied.

    Paltrow’s attorneys said Sanderson overstated his injuries in an attempt to get a come-up while exploiting the Oscar Award-winning star’s wealth and fame.

    “He demanded Ms. Paltrow pay him millions. If she did not pay, she would face negative publicity resulting from his allegations,” the 2019 complaint read.

    Sanderson later amended the complaint. He was initially seeking $1.3 million in damages before reducing it to $300,000 for negligence.

    The trial is expected to last around a week. Check back for updates.

    For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode below. 

    Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.

    [Feature Photo: Actor Gwyneth Paltrow shields her face with a blue notebook as she exits a courtroom, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Park City, Utah, where she is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier during a 2016 family ski vacation, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs. Terry Sanderson claims that the actor-turned-lifestyle influencer was cruising down the slopes so recklessly that they violently collided, leaving him on the ground as she and her entourage continued their descent down Deer Valley Resort, a skiers-only mountain known for its groomed runs, après-ski champagne yurts and posh clientele. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool]

  • Ex-pro wrestler turned security guard disarms gunman at Tampa strip club, prevents mass shooting: cops

    A brave security guard likely thwarted a mass shooting when he intercepted a deranged gunman wearing a devil mask who was trying to enter a packed Tampa strip club early Sunday morning.

  • Racial Justice in New York City

    In a recent story the New York Times reported that while homicides fell in New York City last year, major crimes were up by 22% compared to 2021.  The increases included burglary up 23%, robbery up 25.8%, grand larceny up 26%, auto theft up 23% (over 23,000 more cars stolen), assault up 14% and rape up 8.4%.  The city has been hemorrhaging police officers, with NYPD currently short 1,700, but arrests have increased especially in high crime boroughs.  One explanation in the drop of homicides and shootings has been the department’s emphasis on criminals with guns, with the arrests of 4,627 last year.  John Jay Criminologist John Herman told the Times that this drop has not been felt in many of the city’s minority neighborhoods.   But even with targeted policing and more officers, until the state abandons its zero bail law and short sentences for repeat offenders, crime will continue to rise.

    Last year the NYPD released a list of the 10 “worst of the worst.” The person at the top of the list has 101 career arrests — 88 since bail reform was enacted — and 15 convictions, including three felonies and two violent felonies. He has failed to appear in court at least 14 times.  Proponents of the sentencing and bail reforms enacted by the Legislature in Albany continue to insist that reducing the consequences for criminals will help to address the disproportionate number of blacks convicted and incarcerated by the systemically racist criminal justice system.  They call this racial justice.

    If these reforms were actually effective one might expect to see a drop in the arrest rate for black offenders and fewer black victims.  There has not been a drop.  Let’s look at homicides from 2017 to 2021.  Current data indicate that Blacks make up 23.82% of the people living in NYC.  Over that five year period blacks made up over 50% of the homicide victims in 2017. This increased to 73% of the victims by 2121.  While police are not always able to locate the murderer, 50% of the murder suspects arrested over the five years were blacks, increasing from 148 in 2017 to 241 in 2021.   Somebody needs to explain to the progressives in Albany that more dead black people is not racial justice.

    The post Racial Justice in New York City appeared first on Crime & Consequences.

  • After Monterey Park: The impact of gun violence on our communities

    The show, airing on “L.A. Times Today” on Spectrum News1, explores the repercussions of the Jan. 21 shooting in Monterey Park and the ways members of the public have responded to the epidemic of gun violence in California.

  • US Sanctions ‘Super Cartel’ Member Edin Gacanin After His Dubai Prison Release

    “Socalj” for Borderland Beat 

    The United States designated a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina who has been detained last year in Dubai as the alleged leader of a drug cartel and one of the key players in the global cocaine trade. Edin “Tito” Gačanin was released from his detention in Dubai in January 2023.

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated three individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) pursuant to Executive Orders (E.O.) 14033 or E.O. 14059. These designations build on other recent OFAC sanctions in the region and, collectively underscore the United States’ willingness to hold accountable those who are undermining democratic institutions and furthering their agendas for political and personal gain, at the expense of peace, stability, and progress in the Western Balkans.

    “The three individuals designated today constitute a threat to regional stability, institutional trust, and the aspirations of those seeking democratic governance in the Western Balkans,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to target those who perpetuate corruption and undermine the postwar agreements and institutions established as part of the hard-won Dayton Peace Agreement.”


    Who is Edin Gačanin?

    Edin “Tito” Gačanin, is the leader of the Tito and Dino Cartel, also known as a “European Escobar,” and has been labeled by the DEA as one of the world’s top 50 drug dealers, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

    Gačanin’s gang is believed to be involved in massive cocaine shipments from South America to Europe worth billions of dollars. He is thought to have been recruiting members from Bosnia and the region, many of them actually being the Sarajevo neighbors of the Gačanin family.

    The gang also registered a number of companies in the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be used in laundering the drug proceeds.

    Arrest & Release

    His arrest was one of 49 in a multi-national police operation announced by Europol against the Super Cartel. But just two months after his arrest was hailed by Europol, Gačanin was freed on bail despite attempts by the authorities in the Netherlands to have him extradited.

    A Dutch spokesperson stated they are working on trying to find out what went wrong with the process but admitted they no longer know where Gačanin since his release on 29 December. “We know the stories about the documents being submitted too late. That is not true. We are working to find out what exactly is the cause.”

    A lawyer for Gačanin told the news website ‘ad.nl’ he was released “according to legal regulations” and is still waiting on the extradition process. Dutch authorities have no knowledge

    Connections to the Kinahan Cartel

    “In addition to narcotics trafficking efforts across multiple countries, Gačanin’s cartel is involved in money laundering and is closely linked to the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, a Transnational Criminal Organization previously designated by OFAC, for its role as a significant transnational criminal organization,” read the statement.

    He is a close ally of Daniel Kinahan and was a guest at his wedding in Dubai in 2017. The two traffickers are both key figures in Europe’s Super Cartel, a grouping of criminals who control a large part of the cocaine trade across the continent. Last year, the leaders of the Kinahan Cartel were added to the sanctions list and a $5 million reward for information that would lead to convictions.

    OFAC is designating Gacanin pursuant to E.O. 14059 for having engaged in, or having attempted to engage in, activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production.

    Sanctions against Gacanin were coordinated closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), and the governments of The Netherlands, France, and Belgium.

    Sources OCCRP, Sunday World, US Treasury

  • Scientists warn of unusual parasite that killed sea otters off California coast

    A parasite appears to be capable of killing healthy, adult otters that showed no other signs of disease.

  • A commentary on CCJ’s recommendations for sentencing reform

    In Spring 2022, the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) launched a Task Force on Long Sentences with the aim of assessing our nation’s use of long prison terms (i.e., 10+ years) and the impact on public safety and justice. Most recently, the Task Force released a report detailing their 14 recommendations about how to reduce mass incarceration without negatively impacting public safety.

    The recommendations are questionable, though, as they seem overly optimistic about the state of the research. For example, they propose various alternatives to incarceration that are supposedly effective, though they make the research sound much more conclusive than it actually is. Perhaps they ought to be reminded of the old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” In this post, I will highlight some of the more controversial “recommendations” and provide some points for consideration. In a future post, I will critically assess each recommendation in more detail and provide additional points for consideration.

    Most importantly, I felt that many of CCJ’s statements regarding the research were too declarative and misinterpret the current state of the research. For example, anytime I see the word “proven”, I am somewhat skeptical (technically, we cannot say anything with 100% certainty; we can only say whether it is more or less likely). That being said, it concerns me that the CCJ used such strong language in their report. In regards to what the evidence actually shows, these claims are not always upheld. Thus, it concerns me that the CCJ widely circulates policy recommendations based on this level of evidence. The American criminal justice system has a notorious history of implementing policies rapidly without considering the possible detrimental effects to public safety.

    Out of the 14 recommendations, there are three that I found particularly problematic that I will discuss here (i.e., recommendations 1, 8, and 11).

    Recommendation 1

    The first recommendation is for states and the federal government to reduce the number of people serving long sentences, and use the cost savings for programs that have been proven effective at reducing violent crime. According to CCJ, this is because “the final months–and even years–of long prison terms produce diminishing public safety benefits” because people are incarcerated “beyond the point at which they are likely to continue committing crimes.” They also argue that there are myriad alternatives (e.g., community-based violence reduction programs, law enforcement interventions) that are “effective” at reducing violence.

    Regarding length of incarceration, as the CCJ even admits to in their prior research, there are many violent repeat offenders who benefit from incarceration. Many of the studies on incarceration length have mixed results, and there are several studies showing stronger deterrent effects from lengthier periods of incarceration, particularly for violent and repeat offenders. For more information on the research regarding length of incarceraton and recidivism, check out our recently-published research review (free version available here). In addition, official data collated by the Sentencing Commission suggests that lengthier prison terms are benefical for decreasing recidivism among federal offenders.

    Further, the claim that community-based interventions are a viable and effective way of reducing violence is unfounded. For some reason, community-based alternatives to incarceration are often touted as effective in reducing recidivism, despite the fact that the research on these program remain limited. For a better understanding of some of that research, see my previous paper about violence interruption programs, as well as my review of California’s similarly-themed Prop 47 programs.

    CCJ’s implementation plan for community-based alternatives is also fairly lacking. Unfortunately, they give no detail regarding which strategies should be funded. This is disappointing, especially considering that the research on these topics is very mixed, and we know that not all people will respond to these types of programs. If the CCJ are going to be making these types of recommendations, there should be more detailed guidance on which strategies should be implemented and for whom.

    Recommendation 8

    The eighth recommendation argues for increased use of individualized risk assessments when applying sentencing enhancements based on criminal history. To support this recommendation, CCJ claims that people’s criminal histories are not always reflective of the individual’s current or more recent behavior. While they agreed that criminal history is an important consideraton for sentencing, they argued that they can cause some people to be incarcerated for longer periods of time than are justified by crime prevention concerns. They also argued that people naturally “age out” of crime, which makes earlier criminal histories less relevant to sentencing decisions.

    When it comes to the relationship between age and crime, they make one particularly bold statement: “research is definitive that criminal offending is a young person’s game.” For starters, anytime I see the word “definitive,” I am skeptical. Secondly, this statement is simply not true. Regarding age-related desistance from crime, it is important to note that current research on predictors of desistance tends to be correlational and relatively weak. First, there is little consensus on how to define or operationalize desistance, which makes it difficult to study. . Second, there is not a lot of strong evidence between many of the suggested links between supposed predictors of desistance (e.g., employment, sobriety) and criminal behavior itself.

    Third, there are always going to be chronic offenders who commit crime at a high rate even as they age, though, they can be harder to predict. This is because there’s not a lot of work directly studying how imprisonment shapes the desistance process for these high-rate chronic offenders. But this is an important oversight, because chronic offenders are the most relevant when it comes to desistance from crime — both for society (because they commit a large number of crimes) and for themselves (because their criminal activity often dovetails with other antisocial behaviors that impede their well-being).

    Regarding the use of risk assessment instruments, it is still unclear whether risk assessment tools are sufficient in predicting dangerousness and recidivism likelihood. Further, it is hard to know how accurate these instruments are for individual subgroups, such as violent offenders or chronic offenders. In the CCJ’s proposed implementation plan, they state that determinations of risk should refer to assessments from “actuarial instruments that are transparent, open to public scrutiny, and have been validated for predictive accuracy,” and “where such a transparent and validated assessment instrument is not available for use, authorities should develop one.” They unfortunately give no detail on the types of risk assessments that they would recommend or how to even how to know if a risk assessment is validated. The statement about “authorities should develop one” also seems very ill-informed. Developing a risk assessment tool is challenging and time-consuming, and it seems very misleading to frame this as if it is a simple or easy task.

    Recommendation 11

    Their eleventh recommendation is for officials to consider expanding sentence credit opportunities for people serving long sentences. Supposedly, this to incentivize good behavior and encourage participation evidence-based rehabilitative programming (e.g., educational, vocational, mental health and substance use disorder treatment) to promote rehabilitation. This sounds great in theory, except for the fact that not much is known about the effectiveness of rehabilitative prison programs, despite the fact that the CCJ claims such programming is “proven effective.” The CCJ even admits that there is a need for more research on sentence credit programs, but they are still apparently willing to create a policy recommendation based on a possible indication that such programs could reduce recidivism. This  seems too big of a jump for me.

    While I agree that there are likely some rehabilitative programs that have positive impacts for some people, the CCJ seems to oversell the state of the research. In particular, it can be very difficult to know what types of correctional programming are effective in reducing recidivism, and for whom. When it comes to knowing “what works” in terms of correctional programming, there are many types of correctional programs with a variety of components, which makes it even more difficult to study their effectiveness. It’s also important to note that the type of people participating (and completing) these types of programs are likely different from those who do not, so it is hard to know whether successes are related to the programs themselves or if there is something about those individuals (e.g. greater motivation to change) that makes them more successful. For example, individuals may participate in a program for external reasons (e.g., for good time credits), but those who actually complete it are usually intrinsically motivated (e.g., they enjoy it) and realize that they find value in the programming.

    Per the research, some interventions may improve certain post-release outcomes, such as obtaining employment (albeit short-term) or reducing substance use, though they tend to have little impact on recidivism in the aggregate. Certain factors might increase their efficacy, but unfortunately, these are not detailed in the CCJ report. For example, there is a growing body of evidence that job-related programs could be helpful in reducing recidivism, but this seems contingent on the individual obtaining high-quality employment (not just any employment) after release. Similarly, educational opportunities may reduce recidivism for certain individuals, such as people with existing education deficits, but this effect is not noted much in the general offending population.

    To summarize, correctional programs look vastly different from one another, and there is a lack of specificity reagrding the different  components of each program. This makes it even more difficult to know which components are helpful in reducing offending, and whether these effects apply to all offenders or just a subset of offenders. Taking this into consideration, it is premature for CCJ to simply point to “evidence-based correctional programs” without giving detail on the types of programs to implement and for whom.


    Unfortunately, it is a common theme among advocacy groups (such as CCJ) to oversell certain ideas and claim that they are “evidence-based” without acknowledging the limitations of that research. In this post, I reviewed CCJ’s recent article about reducing prison sentences and pointed out a few examples of where this seems apparent. Overall, I felt that many of their statements were too declarative in nature and incongruent with the actual state of the research. For example, strong words like “proven” and “definitive” came up multiple times, which immediately draws my skepticisim regardless of the topic at hand.

    Additionally, the claims are oversimplified and missing so much necessary context. There is a lot of room for nuance regarding the tradeoffs between public safety benefits and potential harmful effects of incarceration. We also know that offenders are heterogenous and will respond to incarceration in different ways. Yet, CCJ’s report is crafted in a way that leans toward a certain narrative — that longer sentences are bad — while omitting a lot of context. Sadly, many will not notice the missing context and will take these findings at face value. Despite being misleading, many people will not question the findings as they appear “convincing enough.” Unfortunately, this is a concerning trend with different advocacy groups. In fact, we saw a similar theme in a recent report by the Vera Institute, which also focuses on sentencing reform efforts as a way to reduce reliance on incarceration. For more information on that report, see my previous post.

    The American criminal justice system has a notorious history of implementing policies rapidly without considering the full breadth of the research, and they often cite reports like this one instead of looking toward published, high-quality studies. Considering that many people do not have the time to dive into the past research on this topic, it is very likely that non-researchers will take these findings at face value. CCJ knows this, and uses it to their advantage.

    Stay tuned for part two of this post, where I will perform a deeper assessment of the report in its entirity and comment on each of the 14 recommendations.



    The post A commentary on CCJ’s recommendations for sentencing reform appeared first on Crime & Consequences.

  • 2 Inmates Who Escaped Jail Using Toothbrush Are Caught Dining at IHOP

    Two inmates in Virginia were apprehended on Tuesday, a day after they allegedly escaped from jail.

    Newport News police said in a statement that John Garza, 37, and Arley Nemo, 43, used a toothbrush and metal object to break out of their cell at the Newport News Jail Annex. The pair reportedly used the tools to access untied rebars in the wall before scaling a containment wall and escaping.

    The following day, Garza and Nemo were captured at an IHOP in Hampton. Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan said citizens had spotted the pair and called the police.

    At the time of their alleged escape, Garza was being jailed for contempt of court, probation violations, and failure to appear. Nemo had been charged with credit card fraud, credit card larceny, forgery, possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, contempt of court, and a probation violation.

    Nemo and Garza have not been formally charged in connection with Monday’s incident.

    For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode:

    Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.

    [Featured image: John Garza and Arley Nemo/Newport News Police Department]

  • WATCH LIVE: Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Crash Trial, Day 2