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Unequal Justice In New York: Sheldon Silver Still Free
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See, earlier, by John Derbyshire: Do We Have Government Of Laws, Or Not?

My morning drill is to read the New York Post over my breakfast, then power up the computer and browse the news and opinion websites. It thus happened that I read James Kirkpatrick’s column about the railroading of Steve Stockman right after this one in the New York Post. Headline: Corrupt ex-pol Sheldon Silver still freely roams NYC after conviction.

For non-New Yorkers, let me explain. Sheldon Silver was for years one of the most powerful legislators in our state. He sat in the state assembly, the lower house of New York State’s legislature, for over thirty-eight years. For the last twenty-one of those years, under five governors, he was Speaker of the assembly.

For all those years Silver was a front man for the trial lawyers, receiving millions of dollars from big law firms for legislative favors. This was an open secret. New Yorkers were grumbling about it, and local tabloids were passing scathing comments about it, back in the oughties when my kids were in middle school.

Silver’s a Democrat, though, in a heavily Democratic state; and he’s a master manipulator of the legislative process, so for years — decades!—he skated.

At last prosecutors caught up with him. He went to trial four years ago and was found guilty on all counts. He got a twelve-year sentence and seven million dollars in fines.

Then we were off to the races. Out on bail, he appealed. A year later, the conviction was overturned on a technicality. The feds tried him again last year; again he was found guilty on all counts. Again he appealed. Let Tuesday’s New York Post pick up the story here. Quote:

A three-judge panel heard arguments from both sides in March but have yet to issue a ruling.

They could either uphold the conviction—leaving Silver the option to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court—or overturn it, meaning he could face a third trial.

And all that time, since he was found guilty the first time four years ago, Sheldon Silver hasn’t done an hour of jail time. Not only is he a free man; he’s been drawing a state pension from his assembly years of nearly $7,000 a month.

This guy is 75 years old. If this current appeals panel re-affirms his conviction and he appeals to the Supreme Court, he might easily string this out for a couple more years. If they overturn his conviction and the feds go for a third trial, Silver could be in his eighties before anything happens to him, if anything ever does.

Here’s another one of those shining ideals that I’d like to think America strives for, one of those things that in my personal vision is part of Who We Are: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

I understand of course that the legal process needs to be punctilious. Prosecutors have their own biases and agendas; some of them are fools and rogues. There is such a thing as being over-punctilious, though.


Sheldon Silver is a crook. Everyone in New York has known that for twenty years. I knew it; my neighbors knew it; it was common gossip; as they say in Ireland, “even the dogs in the street knew it.” It’s amazing that he got away with it as long as he did. It’s disgraceful that he’s still getting away with it.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Justice 
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  1. Mr Derbyshire, the common-law principle you seem to have ignored in your post is that, by law, an accused individual is innocent until proven guilty. I suppose a judge might have required the malefactor to have been in jail while his appeal was pending, but — and I admit I know nothing of the time-line — his appeal was found to be valid.

    It seems you have a case where law has been pretty scrupulously observed, and you draw an unjustified conclusion by asserting, as an essential part of your argument, that “everybody knows” the man is guilty. If he were condemned on that basis, then we would indeed have forsaken the rule of law, as it is understood in Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence.

    • Replies: @renfro
    , @Personanongrata
  2. Hey, at least he went to trial. Can’t say that for most of our Criminal Elite.

  3. BuelahMan says:

    Obviously jewish Privilege at work.

  4. It’s New York! What more do you want? I’ve lived here most of my life. Corruption and all its niceties are ingrained in the NY DNA since Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed. And will never change. Just enjoy it!

    • Replies: @athEIst
  5. renfro says:
    @Michael Meo

    Sheldon Silver has had two trials and been found guilty twice.
    This will be his third appeal.
    And in his third trial he will no doubt be found guilt again.

    His three appeals is the reason he is walking around free…..he’s dragging out his conviction with appeals……period.

  6. @Michael Meo

    Dear Michael,

    Mr. Silver has not been condemned on any basis.

    He has been tried and found guilty twice.

    Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and ostriches with their heads in the sand have nothing in common.

  7. athEIst says:
    @Jose Garcia

    But Boss Tweed went to jail and died there.

  8. Exile says:

    Is the fact that Sheldon Silver is a “Democrat” the whole story here?

    From his Wikipedia page:

    An Orthodox Jew whose parents were Russian immigrants, Silver has lived all his life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He graduated from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph High School on Henry Street, where he was captain of the basketball team. Silver graduated from Yeshiva University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965, and received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1968.

    New York City and New York state in general, particularly under the shabbos goy Cuomo clan, is the most Jewish-privileged territory on Earth with the possible exception of Israel itself. I know Derb doesn’t touch the JQ, but in the case of Sheldon Silver, it’s the gorilla in the room.

    Whitey Bulger had similar connections and clout, with a brother who was Speaker in MA, but he spent his elder years on the lam, not walking around smelling the roses.

    This case shouts “nepotism” to the rooftops, but no one is supposed to notice.

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