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The Battered Wife

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The Battered Wife

Did Barbara Sheehan get away with murder?

Last week, a Queens jury returned a not guilty verdict for Sheehan, who admits she shot her ex-police officer husband 11 times with two guns. The jury convicted her on one charge of possessing a loaded weapon.

Most people seem to believe Sheehan’s husband was a violent and abusive man. From her house in Howard Beach, she told the New York Post, “No victory right now. Somebody’s dead. I can’t say anything due to the case.”

Even neighbors appeared to celebrate the jury’s decision and cars honked their horns as they passed the Sheehan house.

As much as we are inclined to defend any battered woman, 11 shots from two guns appears excessive. And the verdict is hard to rationalize. If there were two guns, why convict her for possession of one? And if the jury believes she acted in self-defense, how was it wrong to reach for her husband’s guns?

There is indication that this was a compromise verdict reached by a jury horrified by the killing but at the same time felt sympathy for a woman who, according to a number of witnesses, endured years of abuse.

The judge told Sheehan that when she returns to court she could be sentenced to as much as 15 years in prison for the gun possession. The dilemma for the judge is how to treat this woman with compassion without sanctioning the violence of her actions.

Shut ’em Down

Congratulations to the Queens district attorney’s office and the NYPD, which worked together to close down what is believed to be the largest identity theft ring in U.S. history — which was headquartered in Queens.

According to city officials, five independent theft rings with ties to four continents stole as much as $13 million through credit card fraud and robberies. Officials say that all but 25 of the suspects believed to be involved in the operation have been arrested after an investigation that lasted 16 months.

This was not a victimless crime. These crooks hurt people. In addition to recovering a large amount of cash and merchandise that was illegally obtained, the police also confiscated weapons.

Said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, “They victimized thousands of Americans, including innocent New Yorkers.”

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