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Friday, January 18, 2008

NY Dailys News: NY Judicial Process a Mockery of Democracy (MORE, CLICK HERE)

Supreme task for Silver
New York Daily News EDITORIAL
Friday, January 18th 2008


The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that political bosses have a constitutional power to handpick New York's judges in a rigged process that makes a mockery of democracy. But that doesn't make the system right, smart or fair.

And the court knew it. Holding his nose, Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by David Souter, recalled a maxim of Thurgood Marshall: "The Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from enacting stupid laws."

And Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy issued what amounted to a challenge to the Legislature: "If New York statutes for nominating and electing judges do not produce both the perception and the reality of a system committed to the highest ideals of the law, they ought to be changed and to be changed now."

Exactly. And Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a prime obstacle to reform, must respond.

The bosses rule who gets on the bench because the Legislature has made it practically impossible for anyone who is not connected to make it onto the general election ballot. A tortuous process involves collecting thousands of signatures for the election of dozens of delegates to a party convention. Outsiders need not apply.

Party organizations are loath to surrender their hold over slots on New York's trial court, called the Supreme Court. The bosses reward the faithful, often putting loyalty over quality and always denying the public a meaningful say in the voting booth.

There's a sure path to reform. Like aspirants for other types of judgeships and offices like governor and mayor, candidates should be able to gather a reasonable number of petitions and run in open party primaries. The winners would appear on the general election ballot.

Short of that, a commission led by former Fordham Law School Dean John Feerick called in 2006 for making it easier for candidates to elect convention delegates. The panel also said the parties should be required to let insurgents address conventions.

It's weak tea. But it may be the best the public can hope for, given that Silver regularly serves as a delegate to the rigged judicial conventions.

The state Senate has already voted to dump conventions in favor of open primaries. Brooklyn Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, who chairs the judiciary committee, says she wants reform of the conventions along the lines of the Feerick plan.

Silver has said for years that he wouldn't take a stand while the matter was before the courts. Well, Mr. Speaker, the courts are done, and it's back to you.

A presidential duty

At last, decency has prevailed. The federal government has recognized the sacrifice of a volunteer firefighter who died in the World Trade Center rubble.

Glenn Winuk was an emergency medical technician, an associate member of the Jericho, L.I., department and a full-time attorney. He was working at his firm downtown when the planes hit. Carrying a medical bag, he raced to Ground Zero and ran into the south tower. His body was found next to those of city firefighters.

Winuk's parents applied for death benefits under the Justice Department's Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program, a fund set up for rescue workers killed in the line of duty. The feds denied the claim, arguing callously that an associate member of a volunteer force didn't qualify.

The Winuk family was forced to appeal and to sue and to appeal some more. Even though the fund had awarded benefits to survivors of retired firefighters. Even though Winuk is listed on the New York State and national firefighter memorials. Even though a plaque at Engine 10/Ladder 10 honoring the 343 FDNY members killed on 9/11 - paid for by Winuk's law firm - is dedicated to his memory.

Finally, pressured by lawyer Andrew Maloney, the feds did the right thing. They stopped stonewalling. Winuk's parents are in line for a $250,000 benefit.

They are owed more. In 2005, President Bush awarded posthumous Medals of Valor to the survivors of 442 firefighters, police officers and other rescuers who died on 9/11. He should now do the same in honor of Glenn Winuk.

No second helping

There are many astounding things in the story of former Police Officer Paul Soto.

First is that the NYPD hired a guy who was 5-feet-7 and 250 pounds. Second is that the department kept a cop on the payroll after he gained so much weight he couldn't chase a perp. Third is that the NYPD had on its roster of desk-bound personnel an officer who grew to 300 pounds - and has since ballooned to 500. Fourth is that the city's benefits are so generous that the retirement system granted Soto, 40, a half-pay-for-life disability pension on the ground he had become morbidly obese.

And, topping the list, Soto had the gall to fight for a three-quarter-pay, tax-free pension, contending that he suffered a line-of-duty disability when he fell in the office. One word sums it all up: gluttony.

8 comments:

unhappy with daily news said...

I'm a little unhappy with the NY Daily News. I was contacted a few months ago by a reporter who was doing a story about corrupt NY judges. BIG STORY, he said. I haven't seen anything yet. He must be a very slow writer.

Anonymous said...

I ALSO HEARD THAT A NATIONAL NEWS OUTLET AND THE BUFFALO NEWS ( MY IS THAT A MIRACLE AND JOKE, SINCE THE BUFFALO NEWS HAS A HOMEGROWN, COUNTRY ACTING FEMALE AS EDITOR...SHE LIKES PLANTS AND HUMAN INTEREST STORIES FOR THE FRONT PAGE) WERE DOING A HUGE INVESTIGATION THIS PAST SUMMER...NADDA!
WHAT IS UP WITH THESE PAPERS WIMPING OUT OVER THE THESE BIG ASS LOSERS OF OCA AND MAYBE SHELDON SILVER? THE BUFFALO NEWS HAS ONE OF THE LARGEST READERSHIPS IN THE COUNTRY (REALLY) AND GOD, I DO NOT KNOW WHY....IT BORES ME DAILY! BUT, IF IT REACHES ALL THESE TAXPAYERS, IT HAS A GIGANTIC OBLIGATION TO REPORT AND INVESTIGATE ONE OF THE NASTIEST OCA STORIES PROCEEDING ON ITS OWN HOME TURF...MAYBE WE SHOULD USE WORDS LIKE "TURF" BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT EXCITES BUFFALO TO REACT!
ACTUALLY THE "EDITOR" MARGARET SOMEBODY, WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH ONE OF THE WOMEN WHO COMMITTED PERJURY....MAYBE THAT IS WHY MARGARET HIDES THE ENTIRE STORY ABOUT THE CRIMINALS OF OCA IN THE 8TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT!

dem voter said...

Sheldon Silver is not part of the solution, he's part of the problem i.e. "the fix"

Anonymous said...

it is a joke this is no longer a democracy.
Does anyone remember the guy in brooklyn that was sent to prison for taking 50,000 for party support to become a judge.
It is amazing that the courts could get away with being so corrupt.
Then in Washington the validate this practice.
So much for Wasington.

manhattan victim of corrupt surrogate judge said...

why should any of the powers that be change anything? they're all making so much money it would spoil the game. change clearly will not come from within the system.

Anonymous said...

Dear U.S. Supreme Court: Thanks for nothing.

BEWARE said...

BEWARE..WHEN A REPORTER WANTS TO INTERVIEW YOU TO DO A STORY..ITS ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE LINKED WITH THE OTHER SIDE, THEREFORE, YOU GIVE THEM ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION.. THEN THEY GIVE IT TO THE OTHER SIDE..ITS ALL POLITICAL.. HEADS UP PEOPLE AND BEWARE OF INQUISITIVE REPORTERS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, but where i am from, the news only wants to know what, when and where the next fire is! But, i would love for them to interview me and give the information back to OCA...wouldn't OCA be shocked that i got more on them they could ever have on me. My information is the truth, unlike theirs....which they already know! But i am forwarned!

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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:
         
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               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2