Friday, September 19, 2008

Flacks's Letter to the Daily News on the Brooklyn Judicial Convention

Such a Fine Felon
For a glimpse into the odious nature of how the political bosses make judges in New York, we direct your attention to a letter in Friday's Voice of the People by veteran court watcher Alan Flacks.
On Tuesday, Flacks dropped in on the Brooklyn Democratic Party's ceremony for elevating faithful lawyers to the bench. The party calls it a convention. It's not. It's a charade, currently directed by boss Vito Lopez.
Among those who came up through this system is Supreme Court Justice John Leventhal, who was recently promoted to the Appellate Division and is a jurist of fine repute. He's up for a new 14-year term, and Lopez was good enough to give Leventhal the nod.
For which Leventhal, poor guy, genuflected to his patrons.
After asking whether the press was there and discovering that it was not, Leventhal expressed gratitude to a man who made him: former boss Clarence Norman, who was otherwise engaged in that he's doing three to nine in the Oneida penitentiary for grand larceny and coercion of judicial candidates.
Interviewed Thursday about his remarks, Leventhal said he merely thanked all the party leaders who had supported him through the years, including Norman. Ugh.
Similarly unseemly was the role played at the convention by Jeff Feldman, a one-time party honcho who was indicted with Norman but won dismissal of charges. No longer exiled from the convention, Feldman helped run Tuesday's show.
And wouldn't you know? The bosses gave a thumbs-up to a new term in Brooklyn Supreme Court to Justice Marsha Steinhardt. Feldman's wife.
Surprise, surprise.


Sausage factory floor

Manhattan: I attended the Kings County Democratic judicial nominating convention Tuesday. It was orchestrated "Soviet-style." Short, sweet, lady- and gentleman-like, the script called for the eight candidates to be designated or redesignated without opposition, even for supposed "open" seats. Before adjournment, each judge candidate got up and gave a short thank-you speech. Every one of them expressed gratitude to the party district leaders for their support, and they also expressed effusive thanks to and praise of County Leader Vito Lopez (photo). One "re-up," John Leventhal of the Appellate Division, Second Department (after inquiring if the press was present) thanked now-imprisoned county leader Clarence Norman as well, and another called Lopez "the greatest county leader ever." After adjournment, I spoke with a number of delegates who voted "automatically" and didn't seem to know for whom they were voting. They didn't know, and were just told for whom to vote.

Alan Flacks

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 19 September 2008


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