Gangsters Get 7 Years

Clearly, this was big news in Ridgefield.

1930 02 27 - Gangsters Get 7 Years (Jersey Justice)Gangsters Get 7 Years 24 Hrs. After Arrest

Jersey Justice Moves Swiftly for Trio Caught by Ridgefield Police


Within 24 hours after they had been arrested by Policeman William Gallagher, of Ridgefield, three New York gangsters, all of whom have records of three and four convictions for robberies and assaults, yesterday were sentenced to seven years each in State Prison by Judge Frederick W. Mattocks, at Hackensack.  They will be taken to the Trenton prison this morning.

The men are: Michael Toohey, 28, of 297 East 135th street; John J. Carroll, 22, or 356 139th street, and William Steart, 21, of 427 West 135th street.

The formal charges against the men were: Transporting a stolen auto in their possession, reckless driving, and failing to stop when signalled [sic] to do so by a policeman.

The three, it is said, had plotted to take a Hoboken gangster for a ride, but when their plans were discovered made their escape in an automobile which they had stolen from 70th street and Third avenue, New York.

The men pleaded guilty to all four of the charges.  They regarded this as their safest course.  Had they fought the case it is probable that they would have been turned over to the police of New York for the theft of the car.  Under the Baumes law 1 operative in that state, they would have been sentenced to life imprisonment, if convicted, the Baumes law making such sentence mandatory upon the fourth conviction.

The trio also feared that if liberated they would be taken for rides by friends of the Hoboken gangster.  The fact remains, however, that Bergen County yesterday upheld the traditions of Jersey justice by sentencing the men within 24 hours after their arrest.

According to the report in Ridgefield last night, Patrolman Gallagher, the youngest member of the department in point of service, is to be honored by the borough council.  He has been on the force less than six months.


  1. Named after Caleb H. Baumes, chairman of the New York State Crime Commission, who proposed the reforms to the criminal code; enacted in New York on July 1, 1926, Baumes laws required mandatory life imprisonment for a fourth felony conviction. Since each of these men already had at least three felony convictions, they would have spent the rest of their lives in prison

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