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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bottom Line: Little Faith in Our Judiciary

Commission Leader, Judge Respond to Judicial Qualification Commission Comments
Letters to the Editor, The New York Law Journal - November 17, 2009

Commission Leader Takes Issue With Counsel's Comments

I am the chair of the Manhattan Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission and was appointed by former Chief Judge Judith Kaye. The article, "After Three Elections, Voter Awareness of Screening and Participation by Judicial Candidates Stays Low," which appeared in the Law Journal on Nov. 12, quotes Arthur Greig, former counsel to New York County Democrats, as follows: "Moreover, he said party-backed candidates had been treated unfairly by the First Judicial District commission since it has been operating. Two candidates were found unqualified and a third, Mr. Greig said, was given a hard time. After Mr. Greig protested the two unqualified ratings, the panel reversed itself, he said." Without violating the confidential nature of the screening commission, this statement is not factual. In fact, I do not recall Mr. Greig's name even being mentioned in a meeting of the commission. No decision made by the commission was ever based upon a communication from Mr. Greig. Moreover, I was never asked by the Law Journal to comment on Mr. Greig's statement or proceedings before the commission. Throughout my legal career, I have been a strong advocate of judicial screening committees. The Manhattan commission consists of lay persons, lawyers and former judges. The commission provides a valuable service to the public. If results of the commission are not publicized, then efforts should be made to publicize them. I remain ready, willing and able to discuss and/or debate the merits of these commissions at any time.

George Bundy Smith
New York, N.Y.

Judge Urges Reform of Review Commissions

I read the Nov. 12 article, "After Three Elections, Voter Awareness of Screening and Participation by Judicial Candidates Stays Low," with great interest. My name is mentioned as the only candidate who received a negative rating from the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission, yet no one contacted me to find out how I had been treated by the committee. Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the committee at the time I requested a re-evaluation hearing. In short, I was treated in an unbelievably shabby fashion. The very first question I was asked was whether or not I was a Republican, and the interview (in fact, both interviews) quickly went downhill from there. However, I was found qualified by the bar associations of the Bronx and New York County. I have no confidence in the so-called "Independent" committee, and I will not participate in their screening again until their process is reformed. The following is a slightly edited version of the letter Judge Wilson sent to the Twelfth Judicial District's committee.

I am in receipt of your letter of Sept. 14, 2009, informing me that the Commission 'has not found (me) qualified at this time for election' to the Supreme Court, Bronx County. Pursuant to Appendix A, Sec. 7a of Part 150 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge, I hereby request a reconsideration of the Commission's determination. At the outset, I must express my surprise at the decision of the Commission. In 2002, I was approved for election to the Supreme Court, Bronx County by the Committee of the Judiciary of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In November of 2004, I was elected to the Civil Court, Bronx County, and was assigned to serve in the Criminal Court, Kings County. In January of 2006, I volunteered to serve in Night Court, Kings County, where I continue to exercise the powers of an Acting Supreme Court Justice. Thus, I cannot understand how I could be qualified for Supreme Court in 2002, perform the duties of a Supreme Court Justice since 2006, and not be qualified for election to the Supreme Court in 2009. In any event, I am at a distinct disadvantage in making this request for a reconsideration, since I do not know the basis for the Commission's determination. When I spoke with…[the office, I was told] that the ballot is secret, and no reason is given for the decision of the Commissioners. Of necessity, I must protest the untenable position in which I, or any other candidate in a similar situation, am placed. Your letter of Sept. 14 allows me the option of submitting additional materials, however, I do not know what deficiencies in my original materials and interview are to be addressed. Since the Commission has not given me notice of their concerns regarding my qualifications, how can I, or any other candidate, reasonably answer those undisclosed concerns?

What if some of the Commissioners hold an insidious bias, or an intent to discriminate against me, or any other candidate? By not giving me, or any similarly situated candidate a rational basis for their rejection, the Commissioners are given free reign to act on any such bias, unchecked and unaccountable. Since your rejection of my credentials will no doubt appear in the New York Law Journal, it is appropriate that the method by which the Commission makes its determinations should be examined in the same public venue. Therefore, in an effort to foster transparency in what appears to be a veiled and secretive selection process, I have taken the liberty of submitting a copy of this letter for publication. Whether your Commission reconsiders my qualifications, or not, I urge you to reform the process by which you make your decisions. Rather than reject the qualifications of a candidate for judicial office without explanation or reason, the Commission should give an objective, rational explanation for its decision to find a candidate unqualified for judicial office. To continue the current practice deprives candidates of a meaningful opportunity to respond, and is unseemly for a profession dedicated to the zealous protection of the due process of all individuals who appear before the Court."

John H. Wilson
The author is a Bronx Civil Court judge assignedto Brooklyn Criminal Court.

9 comments:

realist said...

Inside OCA thugs have ruined my faith in our judicial system. Nasty bastards make their own, illegal rulings- or they simply tell or threaten others what to do. People have to start going to jail.

disgusted said...

No Faith in the Judicial System that we pay for as taxpauers. It is corrupt!

Anonymous said...

It is shameful how a bunch of thugs have ruined our system of law. I agree, start throwing them in jail.

Anonymous said...

Little Faith?!?! Try zero faith. That's how bad things are.

Anonymous said...

Secret review? If we non-lawyers and non-judges ran for public office, nothing would be kept secret. If judges are above reproach, then what must be hidden? Sunlight disinfects.

Anonymous said...

it is nice to see a judge tell the truth, he states I know what you guys are doing and it is wrong and I will publish it! this guy deserves a medal!

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to know that a political judge...secured A HIGHLY REGARDED POLITICAL PERK.... an ACTING TITLE etc....can suffer the same brutal discrimination and treatment that OCA saves and reaps upon their female and minority employees.

The more men that they discriminate against...the better the chances are that Federal Court will view employment cases with the respect that is required... because as of now federal court dislikes immensely this type of filing.....ask any employment atty attempting to force progress in any one of those cases!

So when men who closely represent the makeup of the federal bench...white men with lifetime employment...start feeling some employment heat...things might look up for the large group of us, whom the entire black robed American judiciary feels comfortable in stomping ON AND OUT heavily from our battered numbers, while permitting the firings and losses from our personal financial existence.... from lawfully gained employment, that reeks of hostility and discrimination!

Sorry for anyone in this circumstance...but change only comes when the powerful are defeated by people just like them...who can hang these gangsters with their own methods of operation.

Anonymous said...

they think they can violate someone rights and then threaten them........big mistake, huge mistake, monumental!!!!!!!!!
how can they not understand the favor will be returned!
one way or another!

Anonymous said...

Little faith??? Try zero faith when the courts are been used to steal, kill, destroy and for the trafficking of children for sexual performances.

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