The New York Law Journal by Mark Fass - October 3, 2008
The obstruction of justice case against defense attorney Robert Simels and his associate Arienne Irving, who each face up to 10 years in prison for allegedly seeking to use bribes and violence to prevent witnesses from testifying against one of their clients, will not be heard by Eastern District Judge Dora L. Irizarry. At a hearing yesterday, Judge Irizarry rejected the prosecution's application to "relate" the case to one already before her - the drug case the two attorneys purportedly sought to obstruct - and instead referred the case back to the clerk's office to be randomly reassigned to another judge. Local Rule 50.3 and a recent administrative order from Chief Judge Raymond Dearie only allow cases to be assigned to a particular judge on the basis of the case's relationship to an earlier case before the judge if there is likely to be a "substantial savings of judicial resources," Judge Irizarry stated. Noting that the drug action involves different facts, different laws and a different time frame from the obstruction case, she concluded, "I don't believe the government has passed that hurdle."