Read

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

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Austrian elections, populist movemens, rightwing populism, anti-Europe sentiment, Brexit, Donald Trump, Freedom Party, xenophobia

Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party has a shot to win the presidency and become Austria's first right-wing head of state since the end of World War II.

democracies in decline, liberal democracy, Freedom House, Yascha Mounk, Roberto Stefan Foa, deconsolidation, anti-establishment politics, Journal of Democracy

Yascha Mounk, a lecturer in government at Harvard and author of Stranger in My Own Country, says liberal democracies around the world may be at serious risk of decline.

Dakota Access Pipeline, #NoDAPL, Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Standing Rock protests, Fort Laramie Treaty, Barack Obama, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri River

Snow is slowing covering the encampment at Standing Rock, and despite an "emergency evacuation order" issued this week by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters aren't leaving.

Fight for $15, living wage, minimum wage hikes, Service Employees International Union, protest arrests, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, overtime pay

Scores of demonstrators were arrested on Tuesday as U.S. fast-food and airport workers led nationwide protests for higher pay and union rights in their first major action since Donald Trump was elected president.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP protests, corporate trade deals, free trade, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, TPP defeated

The real reason TPP died is this: an unprecedented, international uprising of people from across the political spectrum took on some of the most powerful institutions in the world, and won.

Milwaukee Public Schools, school vouchers, Opportunity Schools Partnership Program, Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, charter schools

Wisconsin attributed its suspension of the privatization program to increased test scores and new criteria for grading schools – but months of resistance from public school staff, students and community organizers ultimately achieved the win.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago
standing rock, oceti sakowin, lakota, cheyenne, sioux, north dakota, NoDAPL, oil pipeline, Army Corps of Engineers, wiyaka eagleman, eviction notice, veterans for standing rock, lake oahe, oahe dam, governor jack dalrymple, blockades, sophia wilansky, rio

This week, in a special episode, we dig into the latest news from Standing Rock.

Posted 2 days 17 hours ago
Dakota Access Pipeline, #NoDAPL, Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Standing Rock protests, Fort Laramie Treaty, Barack Obama, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri River

Snow is slowing covering the encampment at Standing Rock, and despite an "emergency evacuation order" issued this week by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters aren't leaving.

Posted 1 day 17 hours ago
U.K. austerity, Chartered Institute of Housing, U.K. Conservative government, benefit payments, child poverty, rising poverty, U.K. benefit cuts

More than 300,000 children living in low-income households in Britain are set to plunge further into poverty thanks to a controversial austerity measure introduced earlier this month by the Conservative government.

Posted 3 days 17 hours ago
Reconstruction, Civil Rights movement, Donald Trump, Southern Strategy, Plessy v. Ferguson, moral coalition, Third Reconstruction

The reactionary wave that swept across America with the election of Donald Trump is not an anomaly in our history. It is an all-too-familiar pattern in the long struggle for American reconstruction.

Posted 3 days 17 hours ago
U.K. austerity, Chartered Institute of Housing, U.K. Conservative government, benefit payments, child poverty, rising poverty, U.K. benefit cuts

More than 300,000 children living in low-income households in Britain are set to plunge further into poverty thanks to a controversial austerity measure introduced earlier this month by the Conservative government.

Fight for $15, living wage, minimum wage hikes, Service Employees International Union, protest arrests, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, overtime pay

Scores of demonstrators were arrested on Tuesday as U.S. fast-food and airport workers led nationwide protests for higher pay and union rights in their first major action since Donald Trump was elected president.

Reconstruction, Civil Rights movement, Donald Trump, Southern Strategy, Plessy v. Ferguson, moral coalition, Third Reconstruction

The reactionary wave that swept across America with the election of Donald Trump is not an anomaly in our history. It is an all-too-familiar pattern in the long struggle for American reconstruction.

Milwaukee Public Schools, school vouchers, Opportunity Schools Partnership Program, Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, charter schools

Wisconsin attributed its suspension of the privatization program to increased test scores and new criteria for grading schools – but months of resistance from public school staff, students and community organizers ultimately achieved the win.

Dakota Access Pipeline, #NoDAPL, Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Standing Rock protests, Fort Laramie Treaty, Barack Obama, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri River

Snow is slowing covering the encampment at Standing Rock, and despite an "emergency evacuation order" issued this week by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters aren't leaving.