Queens County Criminal Court // Eagle photo by Andy Katz

A Slice of Life on a Busy Day at the Courthouse

With summer over and the weather getting colder, normal life has resumed in Queens. Look no further than the long lines stretching from the metal detectors at the criminal courthouse for evidence.

“We’re busy today,” said employee wearing a Department of Citywide Administrative Services lanyard as he carried a plate stacked with bagels through the hallway and onto an elevator.

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In a 2016 photo, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew leaves a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the Treasury Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Community House Honors ex-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob “Jack” Lew, who has deep roots in Queens, is returning to his home borough next month to pick up an award from a leading community organization.

The Queens Community House will present Lew, a Forest Hills natice, with an award at its Strengthening Neighborhoods Inspiring Change Gala set to take place at the Museum of The Moving Image in Astoria on Oct. 23.

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Council Members Costa Constantinides called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to factor rising sea levels into Photo courtesy of Costa Constantinides

Constantinides Urges Corps of Engineers to Factor Rising Sea Levels

Council Member Costa Constantinides, chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider the existing proposals to protect New York City against confounding storm surges, which currently don’t account for sea levels rising at an alarming pace.

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Maker Faire 2012 featured a fiery volcano. Photo by Jennifer Morrow.

World Maker Faire Coming to Flushing Meadows

The East Coast’s largest celebration of invention, creativity and curiosity is making its way to Queens later this month, bringing the “Maker Movement” within walking distance of the No. 7 train.

The New York Hall of Science, located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, will host The World Maker Faire on Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23, featuring everything from an exhibit on sustainable architecture to a live presentation hosted by Adam Savage, the former host of “Mythbusters,” as well as other special events that are sure to delight the borough’s tech heads.

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The Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood with one of the city’s highest rates of turnstile arrests per MetroCard swipe. Photo by Harrison Leong.

Marshall Project Report Reveals Racial Disparities in Subway Arrests

Predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Queens are still a target for fare-beating arrests, despite a push for decriminalization from local leaders, according to a report published by a criminal justice watchdog published on Wednesday.

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A police cruiser is towed in Far Rockaway. // Photo by Jason Lawrence

Crooked Cops ‘Dishonor Badge’ By Aiding Prostitution Ring, Brown Says

They’re supposed to serve and protect the everyday citizens of New York City, not sex traffickers and brothel owners. And for that, they may be going to prison.

Seven current NYPD officers and retired NYPD Vice Detective Ludwig Paz were indicted in Queens County Criminal Court yesterday for allegedly running a lucrative prostitution and gambling ring in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. Overall, 49 people were charged.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced the charges in a statement Thursday.

“Today’s indictments of one former detective and seven current police officers of the NYPD dishonor the badge,” Brown said. “The main culprit in this case — a retired detective — allegedly used his knowledge of the inner workings of the New York City Police Department to run a string of brothels in Queens, Brooklyn and Hempstead, Long Island.”

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Justice Jeremy Weinstein, administrative judge of the Queens County Supreme County, Civil Term. // Photo courtesy of Civil Court

For Judge Weinstein, Pride Comes In ‘Making Things Works’

State Supreme Court Justice Jeremy Weinstein, the administrative judge in the Queens County Civil term, has accomplished a tremendous amount in his nearly 25 years on the bench.

Weinstein created a dedicated Matrimonial Part to address issues related to child support, visitation and related financial issues. He oversaw the development of a Foreclosure Part and a free Uncontested Matrimonial Clinic, where people receive assistant in uncontested divorces with no property, support or custody issues.

He even got the city to repair the civil courthouse’s broken elevator system that had long forced staff and litigants to climb several flights of stairs just to have their day in court.

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Eric Allen, president of the Association of Surrogates and Supreme Court Reporters, addresses a class of Plaza College Court Reporting students. // Photo courtesy of Plaza College

New Plaza College Class Begins Quest For 225 Words

Classes began at Plaza College in Forest Hills on Monday and for a crop of first-year students, that meant encountering a new and potentially lucrative device: the stenotype machine.

As many current court reporters near retirement, court reporting has become an in-demand job. As such, even new court reporters fresh out of training programs can earn close to six-figure salaries.

But first, students  must attain a writing rate of 225-words per minute on the 22-key stenotype machine, a tool that differs significantly from a typical QWERTY keyboard.

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Council Member Rory Lancman debated Assistant District Attorney James Quinn on the future of Rikers Island Wednesday. // Eagle photo by David Brand 

Lancman, Legal Aid Condemn ADA’s Browder Comments

In the days since Council Member Rory Lancman and Queens Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney James Quinn debated about the future of Rikers Island, one specific exchange about Kalief Browder has garnered national attention.

While defending the proposal to close jails on Rikers Island and open four “borough-based” jails, Lancman — a potential candidate in the 2019 Queens DA race — frequently described how the bail system keeps low-income defendants in detention simply because they cannot afford to the pay bail.

He cited the experience of Browder, a 16-year-old from the Bronx who was arrested for stealing a backpack and held on Rikers for three years — including two in solitary confinement — because he could not afford to pay bail. Ultimately, Browder’s C Felony charges were dismissed.

Two years after his release, Browder committed suicide.

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