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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Court Spokesman Bookstaver Uses Comedy in Slap at Mayor

In the New York Land of One-Phone-Call-Justice, and the Home of THE FIX, David Bookstaver has impressed many with his ability to keep a straight face while saying, "Our system is founded on an independent judiciary. It's clear that no judge can interfere with another judge's ongoing case."

Mr. Bookstaver made the statement in response to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's comment that Judge Lippman should "step in and fix the [court] system."

**************************************Here's the Full Article:

Mayor takes to the radio to blast judge
The New York Law Journal by Noeleen Walder - February 1, 2011

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg used his weekly radio broadcast Friday morning to sound off against Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman's decision to block the city from laying off several deputy sheriffs, which the mayor complained could cost taxpayers more than $1 million annually. Appearing on "The John Gambling Show With Mayor Mike" on WOR 710 AM, Mr. Bloomberg criticized a ruling issued Thursday night by Justice Goodman, in which she granted a temporary restraining order barring the city from "laying off, displacing, discharging, or demoting any New York City Sheriffs" or taking any retaliatory action against members of the New York City Deputy Sheriffs' Association. Davis v. City of New York, 100722/11. The judge scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing for Feb. 10. The mayor's remarks highlighted the city's growing dissatisfaction with rulings by Justice Goodman. The mayor said on the show that Justice Goodman had no legal basis to second guess the decision by city Finance Commissioner David N. Frankel to lay off nine deputy sheriffs and demote three. "In the meantime, we're going to waste…over a million dollars a year just because this judge decides to step in, [and] says, 'Oh I feel sorry for those people.' What about the taxpayers?" the mayor said. Mr. Bloomberg also faulted Justice Goodman for failing to make the sheriffs' association post a bond that would enable the city to recoup its lost funds should it ultimately prevail in the case. In a statement issued Thursday night after the ruling, Mr. Frankel said the judge had "clearly overstepped the court's authority." "[S]ubstituting her judgment for what is clearly an executive prerogative does enormous damage to our ability to manage the Department in an efficient manner that preserves the Sheriff's mission at an appropriate cost to taxpayers," Mr. Frankel added. The mayor told his radio audience Friday that "the trouble is we've got a trial judge like this who makes decisions that the appellate courts don't step in to reverse right away." He called on Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, whom he called a "pretty good guy," to "step in and fix this system so this doesn't happen or we're going to start laying off people." In an interview, Justice Goodman said that "no litigant has a right to come to judge shop and I think attacks on judges are unfortunate and may have the effect on some people of interfering with judicial independence." On Friday, Justice Helen Freedman of the Appellate Division, First Department, denied the city's motion to vacate Justice Goodman's ruling, or in the alternative, require that the petitioners post a bond. Justice Freedman also denied the city's request that the case be reassigned. "Expedited decision upon submission is urged," she wrote on Friday.

History of Complaints

This in not the first time the city has been upset with Justice Goodman. In papers filed with the First Department, it accused the judge of dragging her feet in two other cases involving the city, including one litigation in which it took 14 months to get a ruling that New York City's 2008 rent regulations were improper, a move Mr. Bloomberg said forced 300,000 landlords to recalculate rents. In another case concerning a challenge to a development project in Brooklyn, the city said Justice Goodman issued a temporary restraining order, which has now been outstanding for 13 months, and has refused to enable the city to obtain a bond (NYLJ, May 24, 2010). In the interview, Justice Goodman said that case, Broadway Triangle Community Coalition v. Bloomberg, 112799/09, is stayed because there is an ongoing federal investigation. She said in complicated matters like the rent case, "We probably got papers from the floor to the ceiling." In a subsequent e-mail, Justice Goodman said that during the rent case her law assistant "had major spinal surgery and could not work/could not be seated in a chair for a considerable period of time; I had asked the administration for more help and that was denied." She added, "On a personal basis, my mother was dying."

Ronald E. Kliegerman of Kliegerman & Joseph, who represented the sheriffs' association, said in an interview that it was inappropriate for the city to comment on cases it had pending before Justice Goodman. According to an Article 78 petition filed by the association, the decision to lay off nine sheriffs and demote three others "was made in large part by a new commissioner without any background in law enforcement or public safety." Mr. Frankel took office in September 2009. "The City is attempting to trade public safety for dollars, notwithstanding its obligation to protect and act in the best interests of its citizens," the sheriffs' association argued in its petition. The city in its appellate papers said that when the parties appeared before Justice Goodman on Thursday, Law Department attorneys told her the layoff proposal was meant to affect cost savings. The judge commented that deputy sheriffs frequently appear in her courtroom, and "suggested the NYPD would need to allocate resources to perform the functions now being performed by" the sheriffs, the city said in court papers. After granting the sheriffs' associations' request for a temporary restraining order, the judge instructed counsel to arrange a conference call to discuss the issue of a bond. "When counsel for the parties called chambers this morning at approximately 9:15 a.m., no one answered the phone," the city claimed.

In the interview, Justice Goodman said that the parties came in the midst of her motion day and she could not drop everything to consider the bond issue. "We have about 700 cases. For one case to jump the other cases is not equal justice for everybody," the judge explained, adding that she wanted to have time to read the city's papers before considering whether to require a bond. The attorneys might have been calling chambers on Friday morning, she said, but she explained that she went directly to her courtroom for a trial and her secretary was out sick, as well as her law clerk. "What can I say if no one answered the phone at this moment?" Judge Goodman said. Her law clerk eventually arrived and arranged for a phone conference with the parties for later in the day, the judge said. Late Friday, after Justice Freedman had ruled against the city, Justice Goodman rejected the request for a bond, saying that CPLR 6313, which governs TROs, did not require one. In any case, she said that the city had not substantiated its damages claim.

In an interview on Friday before that ruling, Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo acknowledged that "judges have a very hard job." There's no question that "we shouldn't have to answer in court," he said. However, given that Justice Goodman took a "very, very long time to enter a decision to the city's detriment" in the other two cases, he said one of his "grave concerns is that this TRO might last for a very long time," which would cost the city $4,045 a day. The judge's decision to put off until Feb. 10 arguments on the preliminary injunction "compounds the problem," he said. Justice Goodman reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 last year, but court administrators certificated her to remain on the bench until Dec. 31, 2012 (NYLJ, Jan. 7). Mr. Cardozo said he told the Office of Court Administration that he opposed her recertification. Mr. Cardozo said he also has discussed with court officials "the more general problem of…injunctions being entered in this fashion." There are judges who have entered temporary restraining orders without a bond that "also last a long time," he said. This would not happen in the federal system, where a movant must post a bond before a temporary restraining order is issued and the order lasts only 14 days unless the court finds good cause to extend the period, Mr. Cardozo said. The city has proposed legislation that would bring the CPLR provisions on temporary restraining orders and injunctions in line with the federal rules, he said. David Bookstaver, an OCA spokesman, said that as a courtesy, Mr. Cardozo had forwarded the proposed legislation "to us for review." But he added that this is an issue for the Legislature, not the courts. Responding to Mr. Bloomberg's comment that Judge Lippman should "step in and fix the system," Mr. Bookstaver said, "Our system is founded on an independent judiciary. It's clear that no judge can interfere with another judge's ongoing case." Senior Counsels William S. Frankel and Fay Ng handled the case for the Law Department. Noeleen G. Walder can be reached at nwalder@alm.com.

14 comments:

court system victim said...

Never heard of this guy Bookstaver. Find out who put him in his job and you'll find out who he protects.

OCA's spokesman has to be a spineless puppet, simply spitting out what the Lippman and Silver gods ram down his throat.

Indeed, New York is the inventor of THE FIX IS IN (Read: the phone call has been made to the judge in the case, and so the case (and who gets the money) has already been decided) Everything else is a charade. Mike's right on this one.

sister mary joseph said...

I bet David Bookstaver could write a book on the backass series of events by OCA thugs he has seen first hand. The only person that deserves a raise is this guy. Imagine having to put a "lawful" spin on the huge pile of lawless behavior that oozes from the likes of Kaye, Lippman and Pfau?!?! Give this man a big fat raise and a big, big drink!!!!! Bookstaver could make the devil look like Mother Theresa. I bet Bookstaver has eye trouble, though. Listening to all the OCA mumbo-jumbo has to make him role his eyes constantly. Tonight, after I urinate on a picture of a NYS courthouse, I will say a prayer for one David Bookstaver.

Anonymous said...

Michael Bloomberg should examine his own choice of judges before he attacks others.

proudless in poukeepsie said...

David Bookstaver is a decent guy, though he allows, by his silence, common criminals within OCA to get away with one crime after another. OCA's spokesman's father was David R. Bookstaver, a respected old time lawyer. The older Bookstaver was good buds with another old timer, Elmer Fingar of McCarthy Fingar in White Plains, New York. Right now, the older Bookstaver and Elmer Fingar are spinning in their respective graves as McCarthy Fingar has turned into a dirty, corrupt collection of halfwit greedy lawyers, and OCA itself has become a coverup machine for all that is corrupt and lawless.

Anonymous said...

David's just another OCA hack, towing the dirty line of fraud on the people of New York.

Themis unblinded said...

Poor Mayor Bloomberg just discovered that the courts are not about the law? Poor Mayor Bloomberg is asking Chief Judge Lippman to fix the corrupt system which heads? Bookstaver and son of Bookstaver that sounds like nepotism. Poor Mayor Bloomberg have you heard about nepotism in the courts or the legacy Judgeships in Suffolk and other Counties?
Have you seen this website and the 124,000+ complaints. We'll give your complaint priority with the number 50,001. Meanwhile, if you want immediate action bring cash to the OCA and you'll be rushed into Lippman's office and accommodated, if the price is right.

retired OCA emp said...

Memo to David Bookstaver. Only in the land of make believe does New York's judiciary exhibit independence. Even the honest judges are afraid of the big, bad corrupt machine that is your employer- the NYS Office of Court Administration.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg, like all the citizens of this state, has been under the false impression that the OCA is playing by the rules that the citizens of this state have specifically laid out for them in the state's Constitution and Laws.

The Mayor, like many others, has assumed that the OCA is actually in compliance with the Constitution and the Laws.

Like Dorothy learned in the Wizard of Oz, you just need to look behind the curtain.

This "Judge" is not really a Judge. She is another one of those "certificated" judges that get appointed by the OCA.

The Constitution and the Laws specifically outline how and when a retired judge can be "certificated." The fact is, that the OCA does not, and has not ever complied with these requirements.

This is just like the case where Pfau was given the title of "Acting Supreme Court Justice" despite the fact that she hasn't been a Judge for years and is ineligible to be given this position.

Lippman and the rest of the OCA completely ignore the Legal and Constitutional requirements for these appointments, and just give them out as payouts for doing the bidding of Lippman and his cohorts.

Bloomberg, Schneiderman and the NYS Legislature need to take two minutes out of their busy schedules to read over the Laws and demand that the Judiciary follow the same Constitution and Laws that everyone else has to.

Many of the unbelievable decisions made by Judges (including the one by the Judge who said that Judges had to be given raises) were issued by these illegal and improperly appointed judges.

Bloomberg, should challenge Goodman to prove that she has the Legal and Constitutional right to conduct Judicial proceedings. Without this Jurisdiction, her decisions are not valid.

Anonymous said...

Good for Mayor Mike - give them HELL Mike. More folks like Mayor Mike should speak out and let the voters know the inside scoop on these slugs. Bookstaver is a hack for the Judges that's how he keeps his job.

Anonymous said...

why dontcha give Judge Lippman a break. Read the NY Post today and you will see that Judgie Lippman is too busy going to seminars in places such as The Virgin Isles and Colorado Rockies - at the taxpayer's time. This is all in the cause of improving the NYS Court system.

Come on folks. This fellow is required to partake in such mundane chores, such as : meeting with the interior decorators that are designing The Hotel Chez Lippman. It ain't easy to pick out what kind of cherry wood cabinets one needs to outfit chez lippman.

Anonymous said...

ALLOW ME TO TELL YOU A VERY FUNNY STORY that will show you how far we have fallen with our court system.

One of NYS greatest Chief Judge, Stanley Fuld was in NYC one day at his midtown office. Judge Fuld would take the bus down to the lower manhattan court offices. One day Judge Fuld was running late and he asked one of his staff if somebody had a car to drive him downtown. God forbid the judge would waste the taxpayers money and take a car service, or even a cab.

OK. The staffer tells the judge WHY DON'T YOU HAVE YOUR DRIVER TAKE YOUR CAR AND BRING YOU DOWN THERE?

Judge Fuld: What car?

Staffer: Judge, you have a state car assigned to you wherever you go.

The Mystery of the Car:

Chief Clerk of The Court thought he could make better use of it so he assigned the Judge's car to himself. Not only did he do that but when his other car needed to be turned in for the newer car (which he drove), the CC gave the older car to his wife.

Now this might look like I am poking fun out of Judge Fuld. I assure you I am not. Judge Fuld was one of the last great judges on The Court. Trivial matters like creature comforts were the least of his concerns, e.g., Hotel Chez Lippman and bounding off to the Virgin Islands.

'Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio'

Anonymous said...

Then the Chief Clerk got a promotion and went on to retire at a higher pension? Right?

Court Employee said...

Just wondering if Jonathan Lippman's wife also a court employee goes with him on his jaunts?

Anonymous said...

The fellow that told me the story was driving the then chief judge. He said the clerk is going to get locked up. I bust out laughing. It ain't gonna happen because it would make the judge look stupid. It would never be viewed in the manner the judge was too interested in serving the public and the law - which, he was.

Fuld and Breitel were the last giants on the court. Judge Cooke was a decent and practical fellow, and not a pompous ass like those that followed Cooke.

Those useless turds on the Court of Appeals take on what - 85 cases a year. I guess they are too budy with the decorators and ski trips and their Caribbean jaunts to better the SYSTEM.

Shelly Silver prefers Ceaser's in Vegas to bone up on legislation.

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