The Law: Making Police Crime Unfashionable

Thomas Mackell was a classic of the species. A onetime New York City police detective who shifted easily to politics, the amiable, white-haired Irishman was handily elected district attorney of Queens County in 1966; his rosy future included talk of a run for the U.S. Senate. But last week the former D.A.'s normally twinkling eyes were glassy as he sat in a courtroom and heard himself sentenced to six months in prison.

A jury had convicted him of protecting a confidence racket from prosecution because members of his office had invested in the scheme....

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