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Thursday, March 3, 2011

As Symbol Of Court Waste and Corruption, Lippman Must Step Down

Judiciary Promises More Budget Cuts
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - March 3, 2011

ALBANY, NY - The judiciary promised the cash-strapped state government to make an additional $100 million in budget cuts yesterday—economies that Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman predicted would cost some court employees their jobs. "We are going to need layoffs here," the chief judge said in an interview after announcing that the courts would cut from the $2.7 billion budget proposed in December. "We're not talking about a large system of layoffs of 2,000 people. But whether it will be 25, 50, 150 or 200, I just don't know." Judge Lippman said employees who work in courtrooms or back-office workers who support courtroom functions would be protected from cuts. But he said there are "loads" of court administrators and others in jobs that do not affect courtroom operations whose positions could be sacrificed. Yesterday's comments were the first time the courts have raised the possibility of layoffs. The courts employ about 15,200 non-judicial workers, approximately 1,100 less than three years ago. But the cuts in payroll have been achieved through early retirements coupled with a hiring freeze. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last month criticized the Judiciary for "not participating" in his efforts to close a budget gap of around $10 billion in the year that begins April 1. Mr. Cuomo is proposing to cut spending by 10 percent and to eliminate about 10,000 positions from the executive agencies he controls (NYLJ, Feb. 2).

Judge Lippman said yesterday the Judiciary's budget was proposed two months before Mr. Cuomo's and that he has intended for weeks to answer Mr. Cuomo's call for cuts in the court budget. The Judiciary's initial budget proposal was higher by $50 million, or 1.7 percent, than in the current fiscal year. Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau argued that the increase was due to negotiated salary and pension benefits over which the court system did not have control (NYLJ, Dec. 2. 2010). Mr. Cuomo's office had no immediate response to Judge Lippman's announcement. "This reduced budget request will have a significant impact on every part of our court system," Judge Lippman said in a statement released by his office yesterday. "Nevertheless, we can and will keep the doors of our courthouses fully open while fostering equal access to justice. Difficult sacrifices will be made, but this is exactly what we should be doing as a good partner in government at a time when the State is facing extraordinary fiscal challenges."

In addition to continued attrition and possible layoffs, Judge Lippman said that the courts would re-examine all non-personal service spending such as aid to town and village courts, the New York State Judicial Institute and legal reference materials. He said in the interview that the entire judicial hearing officer program might have to be scrapped. The program employs some 300 retired judges who issue orders of protection, preside over jury selection in civil trials and otherwise relieve judges of some duties. JHOs are paid $300 per day for their services and the program costs the state about $7 million a year, according to Judge Pfau. The Legislature has created almost no new judgeships in the last decade, and the courts have come to rely on the JHOs to cope with rising caseloads. Judge Lippman also said that he would push for long-term changes in court operations. That would include the renewal of the Judiciary's push to consolidate the state's 11 separate trial courts, a system the chief judge called "archaic and inefficient." Such an initiative, most recently championed in 2007 by a task force appointed by then-Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, would require amendments to the state Constitution, and the Legislature has traditionally shown no interest in moving ahead. But Judge Lippman said he believes the tenor of the times makes court consolidation more attractive than it has been in decades. He based that reaction on the state's bleak fiscal outlook and the fact that Mr. Cuomo has made consolidation of in other areas of government to lower costs and eliminate redundant services a chief priority of his administration. "We can save hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars by having a more efficient [court] structure," the chief judge said in the interview. "Let's look at it fresh because we have to in this economic climate. We can't continue to have such a structurally inefficient model." Various studies of a consolidated court system have placed savings to the state at between $200 million and $500 million a year.

Judge Lippman also pledged to implement mandatory electronic filing for all New York state courts. Finally, he said the Judiciary would forward to the Legislature within 10 days a package of proposals to streamline proceedings in civil, criminal, family and surrogate's courts. Among those ideas are eliminating the requirement to exhaust remedies before courts can enforce an order of support through a contempt proceeding and to elevate the status of part-time city court judges to full-time so they also can serve in Family Court. James Hennerty, deputy director of the Civil Service Employees Association, said yesterday he hopes the court system moves quickly to identify jobs that might be targeted for layoffs. "Obviously, we want to discuss the specifics," Mr. Hennerty said. "We are in a somewhat difficult position. Management has a unilateral right to lay off employees. We cannot stop them. We are hoping that layoffs will not be necessary, or at least are minimal. We don't even like minimal, but we realize that times are difficult." The CSEA represents 5,890 state court employees, many of them in the management or administrative capacities that Judge Lippman said would be targeted. Judge Lippman told reporters after his State of the Judiciary address last month that the Judiciary was willing to make sacrifices that would not affect access to justice or result in curtailment of courthouse hours. He said the budget the Judiciary proposed in December was a starting point in negotiations with the governor and Legislature (NYLJ, Feb. 16). Joel Stashenko can be contacted at jstashenko@alm.com.

25 comments:

wondering said...

The people of New York deserve a judiciary whose leader is not under a cloud of allegations where he was involved in a $40 million fraud. The future of New York demands that we fully back our governor to see how he can clean up a dirty, foul and corrupt judicial system that has cost tax payers billions of dollars. In the interest of all New Yorkers, and most importantly future generations, Lippman MUST retire. If he doesn't retire, he needs to be removed. (I'm still wondering how the hell he got to where he is in the first place ?!?!?!?!)

Anonymous said...

The complete guide, specific for Judge Lippman, with applicable law and NY Constitutional procedure for Andrew Cuomo to remove Judge Lippman is at
http://cuomotarp.blogspot.com/2011/02/will-andrew-cuomo-clean-out-albany.html

Clean out the Albany Swamp. "Do or not do. There is no try" ~ Yoda

good bye committee member said...

So all of a sudden Lippman discovers he knows how to save a little money. I don't buy Lippman's too-late attempt- he should have been making cuts for years. He's no good for our courts and no good for our citizens. Chief Phony Lippman's gotta go.

Tired of Lippman's Load said...

Lippman says "loads" of court administrators and others in jobs that do not affect courtroom operations whose positions could be sacrificed. Hey, Jonathan, what have these "loads" of folks been doing, besides collecting a nice state check with benefits? The only "load" is coming from you, Judge Lippman. And it's a big load of crap. And I agree that your load of wasteful corrupt funny business has to end now.

Anonymous said...

Notice Lippman's promise to foster equal access to justice. What rock has this nitwit been under? There hasn't been EQUAL ACCESS to justice in the NYS Court System in years. By the way, while Ann Pfau used to be an up and coming breath of fresh air for justice, she is no longer and cannot be trusted- she's now fully part of the corrupt OCA system. Ann Pfau drank the corrupt juice that Lippman served her, and she now can't get enough. Pfau too must go.

Anonymous said...

Justice John K. McGuirk from the New York State Supreme Court in Goshen, county of Orange; helped with kidnapping of my children from our legal home state. Ever since my children have been alienated and subjected to child porn and child prostitution.

Judge John K. McGuirk was paid off to rig the child custody and divorce case. Despite evidence, videos, recordings, child porn pictures and testimony. My children are still hostage in the State of New York County of Orange.

The agencies in Orange County have worked very hard to cover up the child porn, child prostitution and other crimes against my kidnapped children by the non-custodial parent. Agencies such as the Orange County District Attorney's Office and Goshen Child Protective Service, among others.

It is time for Cuomo to round up these criminals in New York engaging in the trafficking of minors for sexual performances using a United States of America Court and their law licenses.
It is time to implement the death penalty to any and all officials engaging in these type of crimes against children and their families.

Anonymous said...

Forget Retirement...the only "STEPPING DOWN" that needs to be done here is: Judge Lippman stepping down into a PADDY WAGON and straight into a Jail Cell!!

Anonymous said...

JAIL...JAIL...JAIL...JAIL...JAIL...JAIL...JAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wake up and smell the corruption. It all starts at the top and trickles down like a cancer destroying everything and everyone along the way. Please make some changes, Governor Cuomo.

T Finnan said...

The true court budget will be a 27% increase. See 3/3/2011 post on
http://cuomotarp.blogspot.com

Will Cuomo remove Lippman? is at
http://cuomotarp.blogspot.com/2011/03/cuomo-asked-to-act-on-his-words-with.html

Anonymous said...

Step on the Lippman snake and it will just shed some skin with a small promised cut. Cuomo needs to remove this snake head to tail with impeachment and criminal prosecution.

Anonymous said...

Alot of these comments over the last few days seem to forget that newly elected Governor Andrew Cuomo was presented with the same complaints and requests for action while acting as NYAG Andrew Cuomo.

Yet, some seem to be praying to the new Gov to do what wasn't done as AG as if this situation is now somehow different?

Been there before said...

@9:59 A repeat post.
The suckers elect Mario. Mario appoints Kaye. Kaye appoints Lippman as Administrative Judge. Lippman replaces Kaye. The suckers vote for and then pray to the Son of Mario for help. Know thy devil.

The difference is this time Cuomo is in the limelight and the angry crowd will grow quickly larger, when they see him slithering.

Anonymous said...

Very good points in many of the comments. I think Cuomo has eyes on the White House and I believe he had to be careful in who he went after as AG. The only reason he even ran for AG was to become Governor. Andrew never gave a crap about being AG. He's only ever wanted to be Governor.

All bets are off now as Andrew doesn't have to play politics (kiss corrupt asses) anymore, and he can become a national hero by going after those who have made New York the most corrupt state in the union.

Andrew Cuomo is a politician with his heart in the right place. Andrew Cuomo is also pretty smart and he's well aware who's been ruining and robbing this state for many years.

Hell's Journal said...

@10:32 And Cuomo Headquarters: Thanks for the acknowledgment of receipt of the message and, also, for your kind acknowledgment that "he's well aware who's been ruining and robbing this state for many years," and a "National Hero" who now doesn't have to "play politics."

Should we all pray for our new "National Hero," who was "well aware of who's been ruining and robbing this State" as AG and failed to do anything, because he was collecting campaign contributions from those he should have prosecuted?"

Here's our prayer, "Lord, deliver us from this evil and those who enabled it for their own profit."

Anonymous said...

There are interesting articles in the Post and News today about Cuomo's proposal addressing the call for an end to LIFO for teachers.

Apparently Cuomo's plan is more smoke and mirrors in that his proposal to rate teachers as part of the plan replace LIFO does not in fact eliminate LIFO.

So, while he is talking like he is going to be a reformer and make drastic changes, what he comes up with keeps the status quo.

Doesn't look good for any type of change.

Anonymous said...

Probably not a bad idea to just shut everything down and just start over, with someone new at the helm; a non-OCA insider.

albany insider said...

Shelly Silver is behind all of this corruption in OCA. Nothing happens without Shelly's blessing. Lippman will lie to protect his childish childhood friend Silver, but get Pfau and Plumadore, with immunity, on the stand and they just might tell the truth about the widespread fraud with top court administrators.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I'm reading. Why aren't the feds doing something?

Anonymous said...

It's totally disgraceful that our justice system is as bad as it is in New York. I asked a lawyer friend of mine if any of what I've been reading is true and she said it was very true and that there was a lot worse going on. This is frightening.

Nassau County court employee said...

It would be good to get rid of Jonathan Lippman. Just don't quote me.

Anonymous said...

Streamline proceeding in the courts? like the Surrogate's court!? Who is he kidding!? Lippman knows full well all about the corruption in the Surrogate's courts - for many years he was in the same building as the Surrogate's court in White Plains! The only thing this turd will steamline is the amount of time it takes to get the cash payoffs in his pockets!

Anonymous said...

Cuomo is not going to do anything. Kids for Cash will continue,child porn and familial pedophilia will continue in the Family Courts, Divorce Cases will go to the higher and only bidder, They will continue stealing estates, they will continue sexually assaulting women, they will continue putting people in jail and they will get a raise. Because they don;t care is all about the money, who you know, who you are sleeping with and so on

Anonymous said...

TIME TO START SHOOTING!!!
ITS YOUR RIGHT AND DUTY !!!!!

jail 4judges said...

Hang all the bad apples NOW! The put their families in the work house!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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