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Eric Gonzalez

Tuesday’s Headlines: The Hunt for John Sherman Edition

12:05 AM EST on February 18, 2020

Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez’s office botched a case against a killer driver. His spokesman took exception to our coverage. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have noticed that both our official account (@Streetsblognyc) and the account of our ace reporter Julianne Cuba (@julcuba) were defending their honor against a charge of journalistic malpractice by Brooklyn District Attorney spokesman Oren Yaniv (@orenyaniv). So let's clear this all up:

    1. John Sherman ran over and killed his neighbor Stella Clinton on March 6, 2019. He was charged by the NYPD on March 27, 2019. That is nine full months before the end of 2019, plenty of time to prosecute a driver for failure to yield and failure to exercise due care.
    2. In February, 2020, Streetsblog reported that Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez had never prosecuted Sherman, letting the case lapse without holding the killer driver accountable. (By the way, since killing Clinton less than a year ago, Sherman's car, below, has been caught on camera seven times for speeding and once for running a red light.)
This is the car that a driver used to kill Stella Clinton last year. Photo: Ben Verde
John Sherman's car. File photo: Ben Verde
  • A few days later, we learned why: "“The assistant district attorney thought he had additional time to prosecute the case in January, [but] time had lapsed," Gonzalez told our reporters, Gersh Kuntzman and Cuba under questioning about the bizarre failure to prosecute Sherman. "It was unfortunate. It was a mistake on the part of this office. I’m not making excuses for it.” Under further questioning, Gonzalez suggested that his office failed to comply with new discovery laws that were part of the state's larger criminal justice reform. "We were, in fact, not ready under the law," Gonzalez said. "In January, the law changed — all the old cases now had to comply with new laws. When we filed the statement of readiness, it could not legally be sustained because we had not complied with the new discovery laws.”
  • This all came up again on Monday, when a reader mentioned an unrelated crash case and suggested that Gonzalez would "slow-walk," and ultimately "drop it," blaming "discovery reforms." Naturally, we tweeted our story about Gonzalez's mistake in the Sherman case.
  • Yaniv disagreed with our assessment. You can read that full Twitter dispute below, though you'll want to refer back (several times!) to the facts above, including Gonzalez's admission of error:
  • That was fun. Now here are yesterday's headlines:

      • Red Hook wants buses not the BQX. (Brooklyn Paper)
      • Here's more subway graffiti to drive NY Post editors crazy. Gothamist blamed the NYPD.
      • Hit-and-run carnage in Harlem. (NYDN, NY Post)
      • Todd Maisel of amNY was, as always, Toddy on the spot of a hit-and-run crash in kid-filled Ditmas Park that almost killed an 11-year-old. The driver was eventually caught.
      • There's been more talk about garbage over the last few days, with Crain's discussing how we can finally get back our sidewalks and the NY Times finally doing the broad overview of the city's efforts to tame rogue private carters. (We wrote about it here and here and here.)

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