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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chief Judge Lippman: Judges Matter

Trust judges in drug reform
The Albany Times Union by JONATHAN LIPPMAN - March 25, 2009

Albany is abuzz with proposals and counter-proposals to reform New York's drug sentencing laws, commonly known as the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Among the issues being debated are which drug offenders should be prosecuted and incarcerated, which offenders should be diverted to drug treatment and whether these determinations should be made by judges or by prosecutors. How these issues are resolved will have important consequences for enhancing public safety, reducing prison expenditures and ensuring fairness in drug sentencing. In crafting a solution, it is imperative that policymakers be mindful of the critical role that judges perform in the successful outcome of these cases. No matter the final form of legislation negotiated by the Legislature and the governor, it must affirm one key value: Judges matter. Starting in the mid-1990s, well before reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws was a politically viable possibility, the New York State Court System began experimenting with judicially monitored treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Specific practices in our "drug courts" vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in every model addicted offenders submit to substance abuse treatment monitored by the judge. If the offenders successfully complete treatment, the charges against them are dismissed or reduced. Those who fail are sent to jail or prison.

Unlike other efforts to link offenders to treatment, the New York model emphasizes rigorous accountability. Judges closely monitor each offender's compliance through regular drug testing and ongoing court appearances. The judge encourages progress by administering rewards and sanctions. There is ample evidence that this carrot-and-stick approach makes a difference. The average one-year retention rate in treatment for drug court participants in New York is 66 percent. By contrast, only 10 to 30 percent of addicts who enroll in treatment voluntarily are still active in treatment one year later. More important, a statewide evaluation completed by the Center for Court Innovation documented a 32 percent reduction in recidivism among those who participated in judicially mandated treatment. Another study documented $9,488 in government savings — mostly in reduced incarceration costs — per drug court participant. Two factors have been crucial to our success with addicted offenders. The first is motivational. There must be clear legal incentives for addicts to complete treatment. The knowledge that failure in treatment can lead to incarceration is a powerful inducement to stick with the program, even in the face of the inevitable obstacles and relapses. In fact, felony offenders tend to do better than misdemeanor offenders in treatment, in part because the consequences of failure are greater. The second key element is judicial supervision. Outcomes are consistently better when addicted offenders are required to appear biweekly before a judge, which underscores a message of accountability. The impact of appearing regularly before a judge is especially pronounced for high-risk offenders who have previously failed treatment. Judges can ensure that treatment is a real sentence for them, not just a get out of jail free card.

New York's court system has shown that treatment, when combined with clear legal incentives and active judicial involvement, can be successful. We know what works. And that's where reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws comes in. New York's drug courts now admit 2,600 new felony offenders each year, a small fraction of the 43,000 new felony drug arrests that come through the system. While not every case is appropriate for diversion to treatment, many more offenders could benefit from the opportunities that judicially monitored alternatives to incarceration provide them. So the bottom line of Rockefeller Drug Law reform is crystal clear. Above all else, legislative reform must recognize and bolster the critical role that judges perform in these cases. By expanding judges' discretion to divert more offenders to treatment, the legislation that emerges can serve the public interest by enabling the courts to do more of what we have been doing for years — using the authority wielded by judges to help addicted offenders turn their lives around, making New York a safer place for all of us. Jonathan Lippman is chief judge of New York.


both eyes wide open said...

Well, I must admit Jonathan Lippman appears to be getting off to a promising start, nowwithstanding his knowledge of the corruption over the last 10 years.

Anyway, I like what I see so far, so maybe he'll clean up some, just some, of the corruption.

Yes, Mr. Chief Judge, we'll concede that Judges Matter. Honest ones, at least. So do the honest judges a favor and get rid of the dishonest judges-- you know who they are.

(Helpful hint to Judge Lippman : don't rely on Mr. Corruption, aka Robert Tembeckjian, for any assistance in that regard-- he knowingly goes after the wrong judges, and let's actual criminal people who happen to wear black robes get away with very serious crimes.... oh, but you know that already. NOW DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!)

I'm beginning to like you Jonathan. Don't screw it up!

rockland esq said...

It's unfair to pick on Bob Tembeckian without mentioning his lapdog and former partner in crime, the shrimp of all corruption: Alan, aka check-your-wallet, Friedberg.

No one ever answered the important question: how do Bob and Allan keep their heads up each others rump. A mighty trick, even for two scamsters who can manipulate transcripts, destroy evidence and make complaints disappear like magic. Perhaps they can make each other disappear.

Anyway, Judge Lippman, what do you have to say, and do, about what you know about Friedberg and Tembeckian. You know they're garbage. Now, throw out that garbage.

I will continue to think you are a useless hack, unworthy of any poisition this side of a jail cell, until such time you do something about these two idiots.

But I'll keep an open mind.....

Anonymous said...

I am certain you cannot claim official reform of any kind...if you allow one bit of corruption to remain...even it was from a judicial era of the past.

Lipmann's first order of business MUST be to clean out the putrid closets of Kaye's regime. Even while he completes that huge project, he can work on reform that is greatly needed....but he cannot negate the trouble he has inherited and also been a part of for so long, while pretending that he is a reformer in charge of judicial business that is circumventing that horrifying, remaining corruption.

It is way too early to extol the virtues of Lippman today...he has a lot of work to address and some lawsuits to correct that he is a deft in!

Hold your praise for a time when Lippman actually handles the issues OCA has been a part of as a criminal and clears their name to no longer read Office of Corrupt Administration!

Anonymous said...

HEY PEOPLE IN THE 9TH JD, get a load of this from the Yonkers Tribune (QUESTION: will Nicholai and DiFiore bring pictures of their little romantic Italian vacation together last summer?):


Mock Trial Competition

White Plains, NY -- The Westchester County District Attorney’s office along with the Office of Court Administration’s Ninth Judicial District and High Schools in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Peekskill participated in a “Mock Trial” competition with the goal of introducing and familiarizing young adults in Westchester County to the criminal justice process. The semi-finals will bring two New Rochelle high school teams and two Yonkers teams to be matched against one another. The winning teams from the semi-finals will immediately meet each other for the finals. The Mock Trial Competition will take place Monday March 30th, 2009. 5:00 PM for the Semi-finals; 6:00 PM for the Finals. Each trial will be conducted in Courtrooms on the First floor, Westchester County Courthouse,111 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., White Plains,New York.

Monday’s semi-finals and finals are the culmination of six weeks of coaching by 16 Assistant District Attorneys from the Westchester County District Attorneys Office as well as faculty advisors and the six Judges from Supreme and County Court who presided over the quarter and semi final rounds.

The competition between the eight participating high schools from Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Peekskill began on March 24th and began last week.

A Mock Trial is a program in which students – High School, College or Law School - participate in contrived trials to learn new skills and compete with each other. The program offers an opportunity for students to develop analytical and public speaking skills. It is also a proactive way to introduce teens to the criminal justice system and for them to see the system in a positive and more informed light.

The trials are structured like a "real" court trial using the actual court rooms and following the rules of evidence that apply in actual trials. The participating students get a hands-on learning experience which translates into better understanding of how the legal system works and what roles judges, lawyers, juries, and witnesses play in the system.

The presiding Jurist for the final round, to be held Monday at 6:00 PM, will be Judge Francis Nicolai, Administrative Judge, Ninth Judicial District.

ADAs volunteered their time and coached students as they prepared their presentations from case materials - the teams are evaluated on their demonstrated knowledge and presentation skills, rather than on the legal merits of the issue at hand.

Following Monday’s final round, DA Janet DiFiore and Judge Francis Nicolai will present awards to the participating and winning students and teams.

Anonymous said...

Trust Judges, what are you crazy? How can you trust them, they lie all the time!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It's all about destroying lives and families and Lippman's fingerprints are all over it.

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
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