Search form

Civil Rights Lawyers Challenge Judge's Removal After Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

Civil Rights Lawyers Challenge Judge's Removal After Stop-and-Frisk Ruling
Tue, 11/12/2013 - by Karen McVeigh
This article originally appeared on The Guardian

The removal of a federal judge from a long-running case against the New York police department's stop-and-frisk practices appeared to be "gratuitous and deeply flawed", according to a legal challenge filed on Monday by civil rights attorneys.

Attorneys from the Center of Constitutional Rights say that a ruling by a three-judge second circuit panel to remove US district judge Shira Scheindlin was "unprecedented and unwarranted" and have asked the entire court to reconsider it.

It is the second legal appeal in a week against the panel's unusual ruling removing Scheindlin from the case. A motion filed on Wednesday by Scheindlin's lawyers argued that the panel acted with unseemly haste, that they did so on the basis of a skewed reading of the evidence, and that they violated a rule that gives judges accused of misconduct notice and the opportunity to defend themselves.

The three-judge panel removed the judge on October 31. It also stayed her earlier order requiring the New York police department to alter its stop-and-frisk policies. The panel said she misapplied a related case ruling that allowed her to take stop-and-frisk cases, and that she gave media interviews during the trial, thus calling her impartiality into question.

Baher Azmy, CCR legal director, said: “The removal of judge Scheindlin was done by a perfect storm of procedural irregularity. The appellate panel cast aspersions upon the professional conduct of one of the most respected members of the federal judiciary – and thus inappropriately cast doubt on her legal rulings – while itself taking an unprecedented step that no party requested, of which no party was notified, and without providing the parties an opportunity to be heard.”

He said: “The facts conclusively show that the district judge engaged in no unethical conduct whatsoever and that her decision finding the city liable for widespread constitutional violations and racial profiling is based on overwhelming evidence presented at trial.”

The filing argues that the plaintiffs in the case – four African Americans and "hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers they represent" – have already suffered substantial prejudice by the reassignment of a judge unfamiliar with the complex case.

"It is not apparent that the panel even considered this potential prejudice" the filing said. The decision was taken without "even the most basic procedures notice to the parties or the judge, without any request or complaint from the parties and long after the city waived an opportunity to seek removal, it said.

The new action follows a late appeal on Friday night by New York City, asking for a federal appeals court to vacate orders by Scheindlin requiring police to change its stop-and-frisk practices which critics say unfairly targets minorities.

Scheindlin ruled in August that the city violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of black and Hispanic people by disproportionately stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking them. She assigned a monitor to help the NYPD undergo training and change its practice with regard to the tactic.

Jonathan Moore, an attorney with Beldock Levine and Hoffman LLP and co-counsel in the case, said: “This unprecedented action by the second circuit should not detract from the central issue that has been resolved after six years of litigation: overwhelming evidence has conclusively proven what hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers already know well – that the city’s quota-driven stop-and-frisk program has produced systematic constitutional violations that must be remedied if the NYPD is to win back the trust of our communities.”

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who takes office in January, has said he would drop the city's appeal of Scheindlin's ruling. He has also indicated a possible settlement with those urging reforms, which would eliminate federal oversight.

Recorded stops increased dramatically under Bloomberg's administration to an all-time high in 2011 of 684,330, mostly of black and Hispanic men. A lawsuit was filed in 2004 by four African Americans, who said they were targeted because of their races, and it became a class-action case.

Originally published by The Guardian

Article Tabs

Rebel Cities are desirable as a form of disobedience that defy states, legal frameworks, supranations or markets.

Group of Five, Group of 10, G-5, G-10, global governance, World Bank, IMF, Group of 20, G-20

An overlapping and highly integrated network of institutions, committees and secret meetings of ad-hoc groups collectively make up the most powerful and informal political structure in the world.

Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Jill Stein, eminent domain, fracking ban, illegal foreclosures, Black Lives Matter

We will have to dismantle the corporate state, piece by piece, from the ground up – no leader or politician is going to do it for us.

Roosevelt Institute, Joseph Stiglitz, growing inequality, wealth inequality, income inequality, income gap, Great Recession, New Deal, FDR

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has led a report called "Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy," which seeks to simultaneously reform the financial sector and wrest power from the 1% while redistributing wealth to workers.

refugee crisis, Refugees Welcome, E.U. migrant crisis, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network

Glasgow Council became the first local council in the U.K. to offer guaranteed support and accommodation to refugees surging into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan and other war-torn countries.

How will the state pay for these new tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich? By raising taxes on the poor, of course.

Posted 2 days 20 hours ago

The idea for an international bank had already been explored to some extent by people like the economist John Maynard Keynes. But the idea for the bank truly took off during the Young Conference in 1929, when the Allies were attempting to exact Germany’s reparations debts for WWI.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago
Acronym TV, Whole Foods, prison labor, Colorado Correctional Industries, for-profit prisons

The health food giant partners with Colorado Correctional Industries, which boasted in its 2014 annual report that the company's “success is completely dependent on the business savvy of our staff and the dedication of our inmate workforce.”

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago

Only roughly half of the 50 states have worker co-op statutes on the books.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago
Detroit foreclosures, Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, tax foreclosure auctions, online auction, foreclosed homes

The largest known municipal foreclosure sale to date, the Detroit home sell-off could be a modern take on Manifest Destiny – luring would-be frontiersmen and speculators from across the world to try their hand at “buying Detroit.”

Posted 3 days 21 hours ago

From Spain's grassroots city mayors to the Mexican Citizens' Movement, the worldwide network of rebel territories is continuing to grow.

refugee crisis, Refugees Welcome, E.U. migrant crisis, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network

Glasgow Council became the first local council in the U.K. to offer guaranteed support and accommodation to refugees surging into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan and other war-torn countries.

Only roughly half of the 50 states have worker co-op statutes on the books.

GMOs, genetically modified food, GMO labeling, money in politics, H.R. 1599, Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, JustLabelIt, Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, Organic Trade Association, U.S. Right to Know

Corporations like Monsanto and Coca-Cola have poured more than $50 million into the fight against GMO labeling in the first half of 2015 alone.

Acronym TV, Afghanistan bombing, hospital bombing, Taliban, Barack Obama, Doctors Without Borders, war crimes, War on Terror

The United States marks the 15th anniversary of its military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan this week, with no end in sight.

Sign Up