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The worst NYC crimes committed in 2021 are thanks to shaky bail reform law




The worst NYC crimes committed in 2021 are thanks to shaky bail reform law

The year 2021 brought a hefty serving of junk justice to the Big Apple.

Between lenient judges and liberal state bail reform laws, a slew of violent criminals landed back on the streets — only to reoffend.

The soft-on-crime statute, passed by state lawmakers in 2019 and tweaked in 2020, stripped judges of discretion by barring them from setting bail on nearly all misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

Other jurists simply went rogue by springing defendants in serious cases.

Here’s a look back at some of the most stunning cases:

Free to ‘kill’

Steven Mendez, 18, already had at least three busts on his record and was out on probation when he allegedly gunned down 21-year-old college student Saiko Koma in October.

Bronx Judge Denis Boyle freed Mendez on five years’ probation in May after he pleaded guilty to a violent armed robbery in 2020, The Post previously reported. The troubled teen, whose rap sheet includes a bust for allegedly pulling a gun on his own mother, could’ve been kept behind bars for up to four years in the robbery case.

Steven Mendez was charged with allegedly gunning down Saikou Koma.

Instead, the reputed gang member, then 17, was free to allegedly fatally shoot Koma in Fordham Heights — after police said he mistook the victim for a rival gang member.

Mendez was arraigned on murder charges in the case last week and ordered held without bail, court records show.

“What is wrong with this judge?” Koma’s father railed to The Post last month.

‘Teflon’ burglar

Accused serial burglar Juan DelValle was so adept at dodging jail that cops came to call the 32-year-old career criminal “Teflon.”

Juan DelValle
An accused serial burglar, Juan DelValle keeps getting cut loose by the courts.

DelValle already had more than 30 busts on his rap sheet — and five open cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn — when a Manhattan judge in Manhattan ordered him released without bail on Aug. 15 on the most recent burglary case.

Prosecutors wanted DelValle held on $10,000 bail.

Within 10 days, cops said DelValle was being sought on more than a dozen other burglaries after investigators found 20 laptops, a stolen 9mm handgun and drugs at his apartment at a Brooklyn public housing complex.

Juan DelValle
DelValle has stolen handguns to medical ID cards.

Police caught up with DelValle at the end of August and hit him with felony burglary charges — and he’s finally behind bars on $10,000 bail, records show.

Freed creep molests girl

A 31-year-old homeless man was free on a pending burglary case when police said he broke into a 10-year-old girl’s bedroom on June 12 and rubbed his genitals on her.

Raymond Wilson at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Raymond Wilson at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Raymond Wilson had been arrested on burglary charges at least a dozen times.

“The victim felt something slimy on her feet and noticed that the defendant was rubbing his penis on her toes,” Manhattan prosecutor Meghan McNulty said in court.

“The victim screamed for her parents but no one was home except her younger sister, who was sleeping in another room,” McNulty said.

Surveillance footage of Raymond Wilson in Manhattan.
Surveillance footage of Raymond Wilson in Manhattan.

Just one month before the alleged assault on the girl, Wilson was charged with third-degree burglary in another case — but had to be released because the state bail reform measures do not allow judges to set bail on the charge.

Detectives later tracked down Wilson through DNA from a water bottle he left behind, and he is now being held on $500,000 bail at Rikers Island on sex abuse charges.

Released on reduced bail

Reputed teen gangbanger Alberto Ramirez caught a break when Bronx Judge Denis Boyle lowered his bail on a gun case — then used it to allegedly kill a father of two.

Alberto Ramirez
Alberto Ramirez, 16, was arrested in the murder of Eric Velasquez.

Ramirez, 17, was freed on March 2 after Boyle — the same jurist in the Mendez case — reduced his bail from $75,000 to $10,000 over the objections of Bronx prosecutors.

Police said on May 16, Ramirez fired randomly into a crowd on a rival gang’s turf when one bullet struck and killed 34-year-old Eric Velasquez, a bystander.

“How many bites of the apple does someone get before someone gets killed?” one law enforcement source told The Post at the time.

The teen was arrested June 7 and is now being held without bail on murder, manslaughter and weapons charges in the case.

‘My hands are tied’

Ricardo Hernandez was cut loose after he was charged with three hate crimes for allegedly shoving an Asian NYPD officer onto Queens subway tracks on April 17.

Ricardo Hernandez
Ricardo Hernandez had at least a dozen prior arrests on his record.
Ellis Kaplan

And there was nothing prosecutors — or the judge — could do about it.

“My hands are tied because under the new bail rules I have absolutely no authority or power to set bail on this defendant for this alleged offense,” Queens Supreme Court Justice Louis Nock said at Hernandez’s arraignment.

The 32-year-old suspect had at least a dozen prior arrests under his belt, but the cop-shove charges were nonetheless not eligible for bail under state’s new laws.

Ricardo Hernandez
Ricardo Hernandez at Queens Court on Sunday.
Ellis Kaplan

Police said Hernandez approached the undercover cop on the N train platform in Dutch Kills, telling the officer, “I will f–k you up. This is my house.”

The cop was not seriously hurt, and Hernandez walked out of court telling The Post he didn’t want to talk about the charges.

Hernandez later pleaded guilty to a violation in the case, with the case then sealed, a spokeswoman for the Queens District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

What comes next?

Incoming Mayor Eric Adams has expressed concern over the impact of state bail reform measures, but as a local official, there’s likely little he can do about it.

State lawmakers did not respond to inquiries from The Post about the issue over the past week, and Gov. Kathy Hochul has largely declined to discuss the issue in any detail.

Meanwhile, state court officials have repeatedly defended judges’ discretion when making bail decisions — when the law allows them to do so at all.

“Judges are unique in the criminal justice system, particularly during arraignments, in that with limited information they exercise their discretion in case after case while having to decide what is fair and equitable both for the defendant and society, which at times can seem to be at cross purposes,” courts spokesman Lucian Chalfen said in an email.

Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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