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by Peter Moskos

October 31, 2013

Shira Scheindlin Stop & Frisk Smackdown

I'm in beautiful Sydney. Spring is in the air and the birds make funny sounds just to remind me that I'm on the other side of the planet. Despite my focus on the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, I couldn't help but notice that everything Judge Scheindlin decided regarding stop and frisk has been put on hold! The New York Times reports:
A federal appeals court on Thursday halted a sweeping set of changes to the New York Police Department’s policy of stopping and frisking people on the street, and, in strikingly personal terms, criticized the trial judge’s conduct in the litigation and removed her from the case.
“In taking these actions, we intimate no view on the substance or merits of the pending appeals,” the two-page order stated.
In its ruling, the panel ... criticiz[ed] the judge for improperly applying a “related-case rule” to bring the stop-and-frisk case under her purview.  
This is a fair smackdown of the judge. For a judge with a strong opinion on a case to make sure she gets a case so that her decision becomes law of the land makes a mockery of the concept of an independent judiciary. I mean, we all knew how she was going to rule.

In an age of political cynicism, I'm actually thrilled to see that such shenanigans are not the way the system is supposed to work. And the system self corrected. (though it seems like this should have been decided before she heard the whole case.)

I might be the only person in the world who agrees with this reprimand and (most of) her original decision. (And I still hope the cameras on cops pilot program proceeds.)

1 comment:

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

I'd be more likely to agree with you if the related case rule weren't invented to give a friendly hand to prosecutors, who could get the case in front of the hanging judge of their choice.