World’s Worst Judge?


“There are strange things done in the midnight sun,” wrote Robert Service when recalling the cremation of Sam McGee. But you don’t have to go all the way to Alaska to find “strange things done.”

Just a couple months ago, police busted an 18-year-old Brooklyn (Crown Heights) gangbanger named Ismail Abraham. Court papers said, at 4:20 p.m. on April 16, 2019, officers observed him tossing a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver while trying to evade them. The revolver had been stolen in Chicago, and surveillance video caught the incident.

Is Edwards a Pushover?

New York prosecutors — perpetually howling about the evil of guns — appropriately requested that the court set bail at $25,000, but that request offended Judge Ellen Edwards. The judge instead agreed with Abraham’s legal aid lawyer and set an evening curfew of 8:00 p.m. She also told Ismail Abraham to compose a “report on gun violence in the community.” She left the details of said report — its due date, length, handwritten or typed, etc. — up to Ismail.

Ismail’s release came a day after Judge Edwards overruled a prosecution request for $100,000 bail in the case of a teacher charged with repeatedly molesting an 11-year-old student, including on a school bus during a field trip. Edwards instead set bail for PS 224 teacher Daniel Santiago — whose “stone-faced” wife and infant child stood beside him in the courtroom — at $7,500 and told him to “stay away” from the girl.

A blue square bandana, often used as a badge for the Crips gang.

Gang members in the Crip Alliance are mainly identified by the color blue, but each Crip set has significant differences such as hand signs, use of secondary colors and customs. The Crip Alliance branched out of California and has gone international.

Ismail Abraham, Repeat Offender

After officials released Ismail, law enforcement leaked some of the details of his personal life. He is a member of the “G Stone Crips” gang and has four prior arrests (all sealed because he was a minor), including two for gun possession during the past year.

According to Hip Hop Wiki (edited for length):

G Stone Crip is a set of the African-American/Black Crips gang located in Brooklyn, NY. [They are] little different from the Los Angeles Crips because they’ve adopted symbols similar to Chicago gang symbols. The G Stone Crips went to war with local gang BMW (Brooklyn’s Most Wanted) in 2011 when a BMW member shot and killed G Stone Crip’s leader Tyrese “Shyste” Gary. Following Gary’s death, numerous back and forth shootings were linked to the war between the two gangs. In 2013, the NYPD claimed that it had decimated the BMW gang by arresting all of their members on various charges. 

Close, But Not Last

Edwards, a Democrat, was elected in 2017 when she finished fifth among the candidates for six seats in Brooklyn Civil Court. She was, however, assigned to sit in Brooklyn Criminal Court following her victory. When law enforcement and reporting journalists protested, court-system spokesman Lucian Chalfen defended the bail ruling as “well within her discretion.”

Thank you for being so discreet, Judge Edwards. Very clever.

About Rick Sapp

Richard “Rick” Sapp was a U.S. Army infantry platoon leader until recruited to the 66th Military Intelligence Group. There, he worked with the West German KRIPO (Criminal Police) at Czechoslovakian border stations during the Soviet invasion of 1968. Returning to the U.S., he earned a Ph.D. in social anthropology after studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Catholic University of America and the University of Florida, following which he moved to Paris, France, for a year.

After four years with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, he turned to journalism and freelance writing, specializing in outdoor features. His journalism experience includes newspapers and magazines. He has authored more than 50 books for a variety of international publishers.

Rick is married and lives in Florida.

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