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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Recent Clawing for Another Rigged Election Fails...(CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY)

As the first to report on the latest election fiasco out of the 9th Judicial District, a Judicial Reports article by Leah Nelson, explains it best....MORE......

No Political Judgment
By Leah Nelson

lnelson@judicialstudies.com
Posted 10-24-2007


Judge Francis Nicolai decided to challenge the minor parties that had denied him an endorsement. He lost the case. Now, what's going to happen if he wins the election?

Now that Ninth District Administrative Judge Francis Nicolai's petition to overturn the judicial nominating conventions of three minor parties has been rejected, the Westchester jurist is left to deal with a political and judicial establishment that might feel besmirched, if not insulted.

In his claim, Nicolai named not only the local leadership of the Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties as respondents — but the four sitting judges they endorsed: incumbent Republican Supreme Court Justice William Sherwood and Westchester County Court Judge Rory Bellantoni, running in his first Supreme Court race, as well as Nicolai’s fellow Democrats, Orange County Surrogate Elaine Slobod and Rockland County Surrogate Robert Berliner, both seeking their first Supreme Court wins.

Sherwood, who according to The New York Law Journal requested (unsuccessfully) that Nicolai be replaced during the litigation, characterized the situation as “awkward.”

It will be all the more so if Nicolai wins the upcoming election. And that’s quite possible in the Ninth District, even without cross-endorsements.

Should he remain Administrative Judge, in charge of supervising the activities of fellow judges who know that he tried to have colleagues’ ballot positions struck down, it could get downright messy. Given his refusal to step down as Administrative Judge for the duration of the litigation, it is fair to wonder whether Judge Nicolai anticipated the possible fallout.

THE LAY OF THE DISTRICT

The Ninth Judicial District — comprising Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess and Rockland Counties — is home to one of New York State’s few competitive judicial electoral environments. Democrats and Republicans don’t always cross-endorse each other’s candidates, and the population is diverse enough that neither party is guaranteed victory. Click here for a Judicial Reports article about the region.

That means that so-called minor parties’ secondary endorsements of major party nominees can matter a lot: The few thousand votes a cross-endorsed candidate gets from the loyalists in the Working Families or Independence or Conservative Parties can tip a race.

Nicolai’s attorneys were in part relying on the 2006 federal decision, subsequently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, that struck down New York’s opaque judicial nominating system. That case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, but its members seemed disinclined to uphold the ruling when oral arguments were held in early October.

Nevertheless, citing the federal jurists’ indictment of New York’s convention process, Jeffrey Buss, Nicolai’s attorney against the Westchester Independence Party, opined to the state’s appellate bench, “this court should not presume that the process followed by Respondents was lawful or in the public interest.”

As it turned out, Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor of Albany, in the Third District, dismissed the case primarily on procedural grounds, thus avoiding Buss’s contention. But John Ciampoli, who represented the Conservative and Independence Parties, faced it head on, alluding to the U.S. Supremes Court’ apparent antipathy to the case.

“The fact of the matter is, anyone who’s been following the law knows that the Second Circuit’s decision that the convention system is unconstitutional is dead on arrival,” Ciampoli said.

Though largely procedural, O’Connor’s nearly identical decisions in the three cases were hardly kind. Brusquely dismissing Nicolai’s claim that his complaint stemmed from violations of statute and case law (rather than internal party machinations), she agreed with Ciampoli’s assertion that “being upset is not sufficient to establish standing.” Such status, she reasoned, would only accrue to petitioners who claimed that their rights had been curtailed by procedural irregularities within their own parties’ conventions.

In other words, since Nicolai is not a member of any of the three minor parties against whom he petitioned, he couldn’t cry foul.

STAYING INSIDE

O’Connor’s ruling was enough to send Thomas Abinanti, who represented Nicolai against the Conservative and Working Families Parties, into a rage. “This interpretation means that political leaders can do whatever they want,” he said.

(Alas for Abinanti, Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter had made just this observation about the rights of parties to run their internal affairs when hearing New York’s case, a point Ciampoli referenced during his own presentation before O’Connor.)

Indeed, Patrick Welsh, Chair of the Westchester County Working Families Party, was candid about his colleagues’ calculus. With four candidates vying for three spots (two of the three Republican candidates did not seek it), “we figured we’d give representation to as many counties as possible,” he said.

Since Democrats Slobod and Berliner were each from different Upstate counties, they were shoo-ins. That left Democrat Nicolai to compete for the Working Families nomination against Westchester County Court Judge Rory Bellantoni, a registered Republican.

When it cross-endorses a major party candidate, the Working Families Party goes with the Democratic ticket the vast majority of the time – but not always.

Why pick Bellantoni? “We have a relationship with him,” said Welsh, explaining that Bellantoni had kept in touch consistently, whereas the party had only heard from Nicolai in August. “That’s pretty much the reason.”

Similarly, Nicolai sought the Conservatives’ endorsement but lost to Bellantoni, Sherwood and Slobod. He did not seek the Independence Party’s endorsement at all.

NO PARTY FAVORS

The party chairs were less than thrilled that Nicolai’s suit put their 2007 ballot lines in jeopardy.
“I think,” said Welsh, “Judge Nicolai is doing this because he woke up one morning and realized he only had the Democratic Party’s nomination, and I think he should step back and think why the minor parties didn’t pick him.”

Said Westchester Conservative Pary Chair Gail Burns, “The Conservatives were proud to nominate Judges Slobod, Bellantoni and Sherwood. Judge Nicolai has the right to commence a lawsuit, but I believe it’s wasteful and frivolous and wastes the time of an already overloaded court system. It’s not helpful to anyone, and it’s not helpful to his running mates.”

Due to a 2006 court challenge to their organizational rules, Independence Party leaders particularly despise the court that Nicolai oversees. Though they eventually won on appeal, party leaders believe, fairly or not, that Judge Nicolai was part of the reason the litigation dragged on so long.

“Since 2000,” said Dhyalma Vasquez, the party secretary, “Judge Nicolai has manipulated the system for his own agenda. . . . He lacks the administrative skills. In my opinion, he does lack integrity.”

Nicolai, she said, “needs to hang up his black robes and call it a day.”

BUT HE KNOWS HIS STUFF

His recent litigation loss is particularly surprising, given Nicolai’s track record when fighting for pet causes. He certainly knows election law, having practiced it as an attorney in the 1970s and early 1980s and having since adjudicated many such cases.

His judicial track record is also nothing to sneeze at. He has a civil case reversal rate of 35 percent, with the average for his colleagues in the Appellate Division, Second Department clocking in at 45 percent.

He also remained a savvy litigant once on the bench.

In 1994, the Appellate Department affirmed a lower court ruling in a pay parity case that Nicolai had brought in the late 1980s when he was serving as a judge in Westchester County Court. In essence, Nicolai’s argument cleverly showed that he and the other Westchester County and Family Court judges did as much work as their colleagues in Nassau and Suffolk (who had recently won a tougher case asserting they deserved pay parity with Supreme Court justices) and that their cost of living was similar. His lawyer won handily.

Nor is the judge shy about taking credit. “It was my case,” he said. “I was the one who decided we should bring the lawsuit.”

He also knows when to hedge his bets. In 2004, he had the option of running for Supreme or County Court. But assured by then-Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman that he’d retain his title as Administrative Judge no matter what office he won (and with no pay to lose due to his own earlier litigation), Nicolai kept his seat the sure way by staying on the lower electoral rung. (By running for the lower seat, he also only had to run in one county, instead of five.)

Smart strategy. Finely tuned political radar. All of which makes his pursuit of this highly charged, partisan case somewhat surprising.

Even more baffling, he once dismissed a similar case for reasons mirroring those O’Connor cited in tossing his current claim.

In 1994, Nicolai, rejected a Supreme Court candidate’s claim that Conservative Party irregularities should have invalidated its endorsement of an opponent. In essence, Nicolai ruled that any irregularities did not trump the clear reality — that party members preferred the other candidate.

So why didn't Nicolai sense a similar dynamic when the parties sought his temporary removal as AJ during the recent litigation?

Asked if he perceived any tension or inherent conflict of interest in remaining supervisor of judges whose nominations he sought to invalidate, Nicolai said, “None that I’m aware of. Absolutely none. It’s a matter that is not unusual for someone to ask the court for judges” to decide an election issue.

However commonplace the litigation, the fact remains that, should he be elected, Nicolai will oversee members of the bench who were forced to fend off his efforts to strip them of their political endorsements. Awkward indeed.

37 comments:

wp lawyer said...

Francis Nicolai is a fair Judge. There are people that want him out and what they have done to him is a crime. He may win and then they would all have egg on their faces.
Good luck Judge Nicolai

Anonymous said...

wp lawyer??
Your a White Plains Lawyer and I am suppose to believe you? hahahahahahahahaha
Don't you have a case to fix or a client to screw??

Nicholai, Donovan, Montagnino, Edlitz, Liebowitz and everyone else should be thrown into the hudson. All of you wp lawyers should be hurded onto a leaky raft and floated away. I can hear you all of you litigating and lying to each other as you sink slowly.

WP Courts are a disaster and machine for screwing people for profit. It's a disgrace and non-human.

court reformer said...

As a person who has worked hard and long for court reformer in White Plains I take exception with the previous comment. "Anonymous" names certain individuals and paints with a very broad brush. While some on these people are not top draw (this excludes Judge Nicolai in my opinion) "Amonymous" fails to mention Judge Barone or his law clerk Amy both of whom are not on the "A" list. While we're at it what about Judge Scarpino and Jody Keltz or Judge DiBella his former clerk? Shall I go on? There are so many names that could be put up on the board. Oh, rather that polluting the Hudson any further why not agree to sent them to Mars, I understand that it is quite nice this time of year.

pol said...

have never heard anything bad about Nicolai that is why I'm helping him get elected

Anonymous said...

Political parties can do whatever they want?....wow, what a revelation! The political parties are at the source of this judicial corruption... all necessary to protect their interests. Maybe the feds should increase their investigation to include political bosses...esp the conservative party in WNY. These parties do not run people in elections, they just endorse lots of them.What are they getting from the judiciary that is so lucrative, other than very high paying jobs for their hacks?!!!

Anonymous said...

The above writer for court reform, appears to mock someone using" anonymous "in that persons writings! I must inform reformer, that OCA is a 2 BILLION dollar POLITICAL entity! OCA is capable and has participated in any and all crimes they personally have disguised themselves as protecting the taxpayer against. I speak from recent personal experience and long time employment! If, ANONYMOUS REVEALS HIM OR HER SELF, they stupidly set themselves up for criminal retaliation by this potent monster, who has given lucrative jobs to many, many undeserving people who would be willing to harm anyone, anytime! I applaud the caution of all who have important information and write to the masses to inform and reform! Congrats to you for your efforts...and what is your name?

Anonymous said...

Trying to have court reform in White Plains is like reforming a someone who has raped 20 women. 5 years from now, if he only raped 10, are you going to tell me that there has been progress?

These monsters in White Plains have victimized my children (and many others) for profit and ego. They are trash. If there is a decent WP attorney, they wouldn't have any business. If your career is in 111 martin luther king blvd then you are already doomed. Your lively hood depends on your reputation among thieves. Don't give me any BS about being a decent WP attorney. If that was true you should be calling the NY Times and the Journal news with audio recordings of the back room "attorney only" meetings that routinely take place and are designed to cooerce and manipulate clients into to speedy resolutions and to steer cases towards the will of personal agendas, vendettas and money....and as we saw in brooklyn..... cigars and whiskey.

Here's a thought, it would be in the "childrens best interest" if you voluntarily got on the leaky raft with your pockets full of rocks and held on the judge or lawyer next to you. You can all go down together.

Anonymous said...

A general housecleaning is in order in White Plains. Begin taking them out in cuffs.

wp lawyer said...

Not taken back by sharp remarks on my comment. Still believe from first hand knowledge that Nicolai is getting the short end of the stick. Would suggest that we have common goals. There are bad eggs in the courts, I know first hand since I am forced to deal with them daily. Remember, I have to make a living and provide for my family. So having said that, look at the comment from the court reformer which is right on. Barone (who is tight w/Nicolai) & Amy D, Scarpino (a abomination doesn't like Nicolai), Jody Keltz (a Scarsdale whore), Rob DiBella (an abomination in the making) and the circle of lawyers serving their needs should all be dismissed and be forced to do hard labor. Let me assure everyone that there are a lot more bad eggs in White Plains. However, let me says also that there are a few (too few) decent Jurists (sadly not enough)in the White Plains courts.

West Guardian reader said...

Richard Blassberg editorial in his paper dated 10/25/07 states that "The Legislature Must Restore Dignity And Constitutionality To New York's Courts" saying that the NYS's Courts "...are largely out of control and rapidly reaching the point of no return." The system is a "Patronage-Driven Moster run amuck."
Giulio Cavallo (slimeball) of the West Independence Party gets dis-honorable mention. "... many of those justices sitting in the Appellate Division, once described by the Village Voice as 'The Whores Who Becam Madams,' paid between $10,000 and $20,000 to buy the Independence Party's cross- endoresement."
"But even the most jaded among us are reluctant to accept the notion that the individual cloaked in a black robe, and sitting in a position to send us to prison for a crime we haven't committed, or separate us from our children at the whim of a former spouse, or deny us the benefit of our own labor, is somebody who never atttended law school, bought his [or her] way onto the Westchester County Court with funds that he swindled from his campaign treasureer, paying for the cross-endorsement of the Independence Party, and then onto the State Supreme Court as a Republican, by cross-endorsing Democrat Jonathan Lippman [now PJ at 1st Dept. & a fox in the henhouse, part of the same corrupt crowd], a bastard scheme worked out and approved under the current Judicial Convention System. That somebody is State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Alessandro, found 'unqualified' by the Committee of Judicial Ceredentials."
Suggest everyone read the complete editorial, it's worth it!

West Guardian reader said...

Richard Blassberg editorial in his paper dated 10/25/07 states that "The Legislature Must Restore Dignity And Constitutionality To New York's Courts" saying that the NYS's Courts "...are largely out of control and rapidly reaching the point of no return." The system is a "Patronage-Driven Moster run amuck."
Giulio Cavallo (slimeball) of the West Independence Party gets dis-honorable mention. "... many of those justices sitting in the Appellate Division, once described by the Village Voice as 'The Whores Who Becam Madams,' paid between $10,000 and $20,000 to buy the Independence Party's cross- endoresement."
"But even the most jaded among us are reluctant to accept the notion that the individual cloaked in a black robe, and sitting in a position to send us to prison for a crime we haven't committed, or separate us from our children at the whim of a former spouse, or deny us the benefit of our own labor, is somebody who never atttended law school, bought his [or her] way onto the Westchester County Court with funds that he swindled from his campaign treasureer, paying for the cross-endorsement of the Independence Party, and then onto the State Supreme Court as a Republican, by cross-endorsing Democrat Jonathan Lippman [now PJ at 1st Dept. & a fox in the henhouse, part of the same corrupt crowd], a bastard scheme worked out and approved under the current Judicial Convention System. That somebody is State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Alessandro, found 'unqualified' by the Committee of Judicial Ceredentials."
Suggest everyone read the complete editorial, it's worth it!

Anonymous said...

WP Lawyer said:

"Remember, I have to make a living and provide for my family."

I rest my case!

This is exactly what I stated in my last post.
Lawyers and judges like this are destroying children in order to profit. What's worse is that they speak like victims looking for sympathy. They walk passed a statue of Martin Luther King everyday.....can you imagine Martin Luther King saying "I know that there are injustices everywhere and I would like to do something about it.....but I have to look out of myself!"

There is no point in discussions. White Plains courts are full of souless bastards. They can rot in hell and explain why they screw people becasue they have to make a living.

court insider said...

the courts are in bad shape - it seems everyone knows it - the judges are uneasy - they all are aware that people are wise the their act - one Judge told me; so what, what can they (the prople) do, I'm a Judge and I will have them all arrested. I didn't believe it but he repeated it, in fact he was very proud in his hubris - the courts may implode soon, they are so corrupt and out of control - many of these Judges, law secretaries and clerks belong in jail - the question now is who will do the job?

Anonymous said...

Judges usually don't brag about having the need to abuse and arrest innocent taxpayers, without a specific target in mind...they just make the call or address it to the person in private....i know. The 8th dist judge sharon townsend has made the threat to her female employees and has conspired (phone call and conversations with her nyc judges and attys) to do same to me, using law enforcement, who will make sure the command does not get tied to her or the courts. She doesn't know i know i was to be her intended victim till now! my how someone who stole her job from all those judges who legally applied, has such large organs, not common to her sex! once i knew, so did many others...i hope she realizes all of that!

Anonymous said...

The OCA will not promote any applicants for positions over gr 18 (they have many grades up to and beyond 30) unless that person comes from a political party. if you have served the taxpaying people of ny state for years and deserve and can well perform any non-judicial job that you have learned from your court experience...you are stuck at the lowest pay levels. the top jobs always go to lesser qualified hacks from the political party that promises a favor or ten to oca! so a job at oca is not only an experience in hostility and abuse, it comes with the fact you will never be all you can be! your retirement will be much lower than the wife of the mayor's friend, whom he owes a favor to, and who has never even entered a courthouse door. court reform is an immediate agenda!

THE RATS IN ORANGE COUNTY said...

wp lawer you may want to take a look at the documents I hold how they rigged a child custody and divorce case in Orange County Goshen New York. How judge Francis Nicolai all the way from westchester played a part. Beside the paper trail evidence left behind, the only thing that was not left behind was how much did each of the rats involved was paid for the favor done to a wife beater and child abuser.

hopeful said...

I heard Larry Horowitz ran to the feds to tell all. I hope it's true !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

OCA always leaves a trail of something! most involved in this system came into it as law- enforcers, not law breakers! Unless your mentality has been criminal from youth, your ability at it in adulthoood is ususal defective. they forget to cover all their efforts to cross over to the other side! they also believe that becuase they ARE the judicial system, they will always be exempt from any scrutiny or prosecution! i hate to inform them....too many people know and are outraged and what OCA always maintains in their daily employment, will manifest very soon....THE TRUTH WILL PREVAIL! I want to be the first to shove that in their faces!

a fly on the wall said...

the buzz is something big is coming that will give details about the corruption we all so detest

Anonymous said...

sad to say the corruption will not stop until these people are in nursing homes in diapers and even then you have to wonder

Anonymous said...

A federal monitor breathing down OCA'S necks all day every day will certainly contain most of them, if not all of them! remember, once the public becomes aware of what is up, they will be vigilant in their reporting and monitoring! i am confident that once OCA knows their moves are tagged everywhere, they will quit or be forced to behave. i can't wait...nothing better to watch, than these thugs with accountability! i have investigated OCA for several years and i know they only do things because they can get away with it....most are gutless! judy kaye was the only one that allowed this to become as severely hideous as it has become and she needs to be punished immediately to show all the rest of them, an example of what they will suffer! the sight of an old lady in hand cuffs is surely a great deterrent.

Anonymous said...

in westchester what's one more rigged election more or less, it has been that way for years.....

Anonymous said...

I hope is true about Larry Horowitz running to the feds to spill the beans cause I bet you he has juicy details not only from Westchester but also from Orange County Goshen New York Supreme and Family Court. Where the backrooms deals are going on non stop.

Anonymous said...

I was told that after Nicolai loses the election, he'll be replaced as the Administrative Judge for the 9th. Not a second to soon. And boy, he'll be taking swipes at everyone as he's dragged out of his pretty office.

Anonymous said...

I was told that after Nicolai loses the election, he'll be replaced as the Administrative Judge for the 9th. Not a second to soon. And boy, he'll be taking swipes at everyone as he's dragged out of his pretty office.

nicolai supporter said...

Sorry to say to all you two faced bums, but it looks like Frank Nicolai has won. Frank is going to get you, and you know who you are! What comes around goes around!

Anonymous said...

I'm not from your area, but how do you threaten people that may have reason to dislike or even dog nicolai, with words like he will "get you now that he has won a JUDICIAL election!? Hmmmm.....again, sounds like the NY OCA is a participant in MOB TACTICS! iF I were these people, i would hire a PI and make sure an independent 3rd party was always in their presence when they saw NICLOAI! I am now aware of this threat by his supporter! Let us see what goes around comes AROUND with that comment..got it for the future!

nicolai supporter said...

Frank Nicolai got over 73,000 votes, he's the main man, enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Corruption is re-elected in West., the Judiciary hits a new low.

Anonymous said...

Judge Judy is reading the tea leaves on this one. She also knows that when she goes (however before she departs she has a few more hot contracts to handle) the deal is that Jonathan Lippman (PJ 1st) will get her slot. This is all compliments of Mr. Silver.

Anonymous said...

Nicolai,Lippman and Kaye can
remain judges for now...cocky supporter!....but it doesn't stop any spying on them or investigations of all of the above! I already have things on skanky Kaye...let the rest lie in peace for now!

Anonymous said...

The Judiciary under Frank Nicolai and his group is equal to Corruption Central

wp insider said...

Nicolai has a lot of scores to settle. An open secret amongst insiders in wp is Nicolai's long running "situation" of the female persasion who is now an elected official. The triva question for everyone else is - what is the name of this honey?

court insider said...

The story in the Journal News about Nicolai's outburst involving Rory B is revealing. The thug in Frank Nicolai comes out, he can't help himself. Nicolai wants a case that Rory B is on to go a certain way, plain and simple. How many threats did you issue Frank? Who are you protecting Pirro?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, its a great story, Nicolai is out of control, next stop the funny farm! Sure hope someone has all the phones in the courthouse wired. Big Brother is watching and little brother is listening.

Anonymous said...

this guy Nicolai is crazy

court watcher said...

Frances Nicolai puts on his black dress and thinks (s)he is one of the boys, how sad

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2