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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Conflicted State of New York

Judge Garaufis' conflict
The New York Post - EDITORIAL - March 8, 2010

Last week, Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis effectively ordered the immediate dismantlement of New York's system of privately run, but state-licensed, group homes for the mentally ill. That decision was a slam-dunk victory for activists -- if not for the mentally ill themselves. The judge ordered the cash-strapped state to build 1,500 housing units in each of the next three years -- almost exactly as the activists demanded. And he blasted the state's compromise plan as "patently inadequate." As we noted then, moving the mentally ill into situations with reduced supervision invites disaster: It's why New York had a profound homeless crisis in the '70s and '80s. Garaufis' decision makes no real-world sense -- but he could have had more of a vested interest in this case than most might suspect. It turns out that his wife for 18 years has been an active board member of Fountain House, which describes its mission as "dedicated to the recovery of men and women with mental illness by providing opportunities for our members to live, work and learn" and "the ultimate elimination of stigma against those with mental illness." In short, it's an activist group for the rights of the mentally ill. And while the organization was not a party to the lawsuit, the relationship still constitutes a startling conflict of interest on the part of Judge Garaufis. According to the attorney general's office, which represented the state, Garaufis did raise his wife's affiliation with lawyers for both sides back in 2006, when he first began to hear the case. True, the state's lawyers did not see grounds for a mandatory recusal, in which the judge would automatically disqualify himself from hearing the case. But that's only half the story. Formally challenging the judge to step aside over a question of possible unfairness is fraught with potential professional dangers for a lawyer -- not only in the case at hand, but in future appearances before the same jurist. So Garaufis continued to preside. Frankly, it wasn't enough for the judge simply to raise the issue. He should have understood that his wife's active involvement with the group represented the appearance -- if not the actuality -- of a blatant conflict of interest. He should have stepped aside -- without waiting for the state's lawyers to demand it. As we noted earlier, the judge found wrongly on the merits -- dangerously so. Now the decision resides under an ethical cloud -- unnecessarily so.

22 comments:

Lovely said...

A very good editorial from the post, for a change. It's quite lovely that New York's federal judges never see a conflict. Of course, this bizarre attitude is led by New York's top state law enforcer- one Andy Cuomo. New York is a cesspool of ethics-less slime.

Eliot Bernstein said...

I like how these attorneys manipulate language, The Appearance of Impropriety? Why Appearance, as it sounds like it appears, not it factually is impropriety. Clever little Patriot Act misnomer group at it again.

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's just a little conflict. I ask you what's a little conflict among friends and business partners? Just ask Shelly he'll tell you.

Anonymous said...

Our wonderful brave AG Andrew Cuomo withers from defending the people of NY to defer to an addled judge with an agenda. Will the Cuomo have the backbone to make a motion to disqualify the judge, so he has bring it up on appeal?
Again, the nuts put on the streets and the slime on the bench. Thank you, Andrew Cuomo.

Anonymous said...

As we noted then, moving the mentally ill into situations with reduced supervision invites disaster:

maybe he is making more room for the lawyers, judges and public officials that need a good rest and some meds,,,
You have to have a place to put all of them!

very disappointed said...

New York is a complete unethical mess. I had hoped that Preet Bharara would have stepped up to the plate by now.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what rock the slime king Judge-less Francis Nicolai is hiding under these days? I believe he took money from the lawyers who opposed me, and I think I have pretty good proof. I want to file a complaint against him.

Anonymous said...

I am sure he is still collecting money from the sexual exploitation of children in child custody cases.

Anonymous said...

Cuomo AND Paterson should resign... But who can we trust, that's the question!

Anonymous said...

they all need to go, until a proper ethics bill is signed
until we have proper oversight and fines against lawyers judges and public officials, this will continue Our Governor and AG do not stand a chance, it is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!

Anonymous said...

GARAUFIS IS OTHERWISE A HERO !!!!!
RECENTLY HE THREW OUT A CASE CITING THE NYPD'S TESTIMONE/EVIDENCE AS A COMPLETE FABRICATION !!!!!
LOOK IT UP, NY DAILY NEWS.
THE ONLY REASON THAT THE POST WOULD LEAN ON THIS JUDGE IS BECAUSE HE RECENTLY TOOK A STAND AGAINST BLATANT PERJURY FROM THE COPS, " A COMPLETE FABRICATION"
THE NY POST IS TOTAL PROPAGANDA !!!

Anonymous said...

This site is getting to them. "A hero-judge" acted against the police who are not part of his lawyer/judge cabal. This is not defending the police, but asking when has this judge acted against lawyer/judge corruption? This is the Auschwitz guard defense; I didn't know what was going on and I'm a good man who feed the stray cats.

Jail4Judges said...

Don't trust Judges, they are ALL attorneys and they lie!

Anonymous said...

WHEN GARAUFIS DISMISSED THE COPS
HE ALSO DISMISSED THE U.S. ATTORNEY , NO ??

GARAUFIS WIFE HELPS THE ILL AND DESTITUTE !!!

GARAUFIS TAKES A STAND AGAINST THE BLATANTLY INPLAUSIBLE !!!

PERHAPS ITS TOO LITTLE TOO LATE, BUT AFTER WE/IT HAVE HAVE MOVED FROM THE THEORETICALLY PLAUSIBLE TO THE BLATANTLY IMPLAUSIBLE (FASCISM) THE JUDGE TOOK A STAND, FINALLY !!!
THE POST COULD GIVE A RATS ASS ABOUT SOME 'CONFLICT'
IT ATTACKS GARAUFIS BECAUSE HE BACKED AWAY FROM THE ABYSS OF "COMPLETE FABRICATION"
TOO LITTLE TOO LATE ??? YES !!!
BUT THE POST IS A ROTTEN PROPAGANDA MACHINE !!!

Anonymous said...

1099 TO/FROM LAWYERS, JUDGES AND PUBLIC OFFICIALS.......WOULD HELP THE SITUATION!
SO WOULD NO CONSULTING FEES OR FAKE ORGANIZATIONS!

Anonymous said...

Before you call the POST black, first remove the mass of black warts on your judge. Let Garaufis's wife take these mentally challenged into her home for several months before sending them out to confront the citizenry.
If the facts are against you, attack the POST (ad newspaerum).

Postcards from all the right places said...

I say that until New York confronts it's scourge of lawlessness and hypocrisy, we all MOVE TO A BANANA REPUBLIC.
We can send them POSTCARDS signed 'Kiss My Ass' you morally bankrupt miscreants.

Anonymous said...

we already live in the Banana Republic, let us choose somewhere else, possibly one without to many quakes & flakes!

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Anonymous said...

Judges belong in jail, if they were in jail then we would have less trouble. They're a bunch of old men in black bath robes.

Anonymous said...

Pro pedophiles selling children like Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. belong in jail and whom ever in the AG's office who is protecting these pro pedophiles rigging child custody cases.

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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:
         
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