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Saturday, May 19, 2012

'Extreme and Perilous Judicial Overreaching'

Class-action suit on stop-and-frisk is bad news for New York
The New York Daily News - OPINION - May 18, 2012
A big step backward toward the bad old days of crime

Judge Shira Scheindlin sounded as if she had already convicted the NYPD in her ruling on Stop, Question and Frisk lawsuit. There was a time — not so long ago — when the New York Police Department deployed officers to patrol in cars or on foot, waiting to be summoned after someone had been murdered, raped, robbed or otherwise victimized. As the city suffered more than 2,000 killings a year, the cops became known as blue flowerpots for their determined lack of aggression in trying to prevent crime instead of merely cleaning up the blood afterward. Today, New Yorkers are dangerously close to seeing the police replanted, with a terrible impact on public safety. Virtually the city’s entire Democratic political hierarchy is recklessly on board a campaign to force the NYPD to, in effect, abandon its program of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking individuals suspected of criminality. Among those who would return the police to the status of ineffectually observing the disintegration of the social compact are the city’s would-be mayors: Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Scott Stringer. They will cry that this is a harsh and unwarranted judgment, and they will do so honestly because they have no sense of the horrendous damage their policy prescriptions would wreak. You think rising cell phone thefts are bad? Wait till car thefts soar back over 100,000 a year. Wait till you start hearing about mushrooms and learn that the word refers to children who have been struck by stray bullets.

Still more frightening than Quinn, de Blasio, Liu and Stringer is Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, who this week okayed a class-action lawsuit over the NYPD’s perfectly legal, perfectly constitutional program of asking people to produce identification and explain their business when cops have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is about to be committed. Scheindlin convicted the Police Department of violating the constitutional rights of black and Hispanic New Yorkers based on statistical extrapolations of who gets stopped where, plus a professor’s opinion that the cops’ stated reasons for making inquiries fall short of the legal standards for reasonable suspicion. Making much of the fact that the NYPD has an organized stop and inquire program — as opposed to a haphazard one — the judge ruled that charges of wrongful stops by just four New Yorkers can serve as proxies for rights violations supposedly inflicted on hundreds of thousands of people. This is extreme and perilous judicial overreaching. Based on nothing more, really, than numbers and an academic opinion that suited her beliefs, Scheindlin has moved menacingly toward restricting the NYPD’s tactics. Under political and legal onslaught, Commissioner Ray Kelly told Quinn yesterday that precinct commanders would give an extra level of scrutiny to encounters where police stop people. She and Stringer dismissed Kelly’s move as inadequate and, no doubt, Scheindlin will too.  Until the body count starts rising. Which it will.

RELATED STORY:

Just stop! Frisking saves lives: Bloomy
The New York Post by David Seifman  -  May 19, 2012

There’s not going to be any retreat on the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” strategy because the program is saving lives, a defiant Mayor Bloomberg declared yesterday.  “We’re not going to walk away from tactics that work, and we’re not going to walk away from bringing down crime,” the mayor said, less than 24 hours after Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told the City Council he’s made changes to increase training and heighten supervision of the controversial program.  Kelly’s announcement appeared designed to mollify critics who charge that stop-and-frisk unfairly targets young blacks and Latinos.  But Bloomberg was giving no ground yesterday on his weekly radio show.  “This is a program that’s effective,” he insisted.  “People say there’s a divide between the public and the police. There may be a divide between some of the public and the police, but the divide that is no longer there is that you used to not be able to walk the streets of this city, and today you can walk every neighborhood during the day and most neighborhoods at night.”  The mayor rejected the idea the NYPD was acting only after a federal judge this week granted class-action status to a 2008 lawsuit against the city involving stop-and-frisk.  “This is something if you look and go back six weeks ago, Kelly began a process really of making local precinct commanders responsible for the stop-and-frisk and reporting, checking the quality,” he said.  Bloomberg pointed out that the murder rate has dropped sharply since he took office. With more than seven months before the year ends, he predicted the number of murders reported this year would set another record low.  Without mentioning Chicago by name, Bloomberg also noted that crime is “off the charts” in that city — up a startling 60 percent this year.  He didn’t have to say anything more to deliver the message of what would happen if stop-and-frisk was curtailed here.  “Once you start to convince people they can get away with carrying guns, then you lose control of them,” the mayor said. “We cannot do that.”  Five hours after the mayor delivered his impassioned defense, critics were hammering him and the NYPD at an Assembly hearing across the street from City Hall.  Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, dismissed Kelly’s plan as a p.r. stunt.  “We can’t let the commissioner off the hook with this garbage, this substitute for meaningful reform, “ she said.  “The police commissioner’s response is not about acknowledging that the system of policing in New York City is fundamentally flawed and needs a fundamental overhaul. It’s about winning the battle in the media. They’re making a couple of baby steps.”  David Jones, president of the Community Service Society, held out no hope that Bloomberg or Kelly would make significant modifications.  “This administration is not going to change,” Jones said.  david.seifman@nypost.com

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did this judge EVER get on the bench?!? She's surely not fair, and not impartial. She's already made up her decision and simply ignores the fact that the thousands of lives saved are blacks and hispanics. Yes, a few bad cops acted wrongly.... but that doesn't justify attacking a program that is saving the lives of all citizens.

Anonymous said...

This judge is trying to look like she's helping the regular joe. Check her record. She's a lawless bench warmer, a disgrace to all judges that follow the rule of law.

Anonymous said...

Shira knows that profiling is bad by ACLU definition. Young Blacks and Hispanics wearing the clothes required for satisfying their gangsta friends are being unfairly targeted by Police. The police should randomly target elderly Whites with canes and walkers or three year-olds for stop and frisk, so we can obey the dogma of the ACLU religion. Let them stop and frisk Kissinger in his wheelchair like the TSA did at the airport. The rights against profiling must be expanded to the animal world. Did you put out rat or mouse traps, because you were profiling these small rodents. Next time make sure your traps don't profile, nor discriminate and that your dog,cat or parakeet can equally be at risk of those traps.
Wikipedia has this: "Scheindlin is known for her intellectual acumen, demanding courtroom demeanor, aggressive interpretations of the law." Such acumen will provide the enlightenment that we ignorant brutes will receive from judge Shira's "aggressive" treatment of the law. Aggression against intelligence, decency, common-sense to defend the vermin's right to harm us.

Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...

just what does the term "aggressive interpretations of the law" really mean... and can it lead to a subjective misinterpretation of the law...

--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America

Anonymous said...

Kelly is a bully and the head prison guard. The feds should do plenty and this may be the start. As for Shira, time shall tell, her past record is troubling and prople whisper things to her.

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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