Stop-And-Frisk Judge Removed, Fights Back
Nov. 7 (Bloomberg Law) — Last month a federal appellate court panel put a hold on changes to the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices and created a controversy by removing Judge Shira Scheindlin who had ordered the changes.
The panel said Judge Scheindlin ran afoul of judicial ethics rules by encouraging lawyers to bring the stop-and-frisk case, which she would hear as a “related” case to others on her docket, and by speaking to reporters while the case was underway.
Many lawyers have come to the judge’s defense. Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge says that it was the panel, not Judge Scheindlin, that violated the rules since no party had moved to disqualify her.
Above The Law’s David Lat says that, while removing Judge Scheindlin on the basis of her use of the related case rule “might have been justified,” the appeals court “should err on the side of permitting judicial speech.”
Harvard Law’s Charles Ogletree, Jr. went even further, saying sometimes judges have “to break the rules” to follow the “ethical path.”
While Judge Scheindlin is now out, she’s not giving up. She filed papers this week asking for the decision to be reversed or reviewed and calling it, “not merely a breach of norms of collegiality and mutual respect,” but also “an affront to the values underlying the Fifth Amendment.”
This will likely all be moot in a few months, as Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio, has said he’ll drop the appeal when he takes office.