Thursday, May 31, 2012

Judge Payne to Quit Bench

[31 May 2012]

New York City Civil Court Judge Kibbie Payne will retire from the bench according to County sources. This came as a surprise as petitions for his re-election were to be printed now in time for the June 5th, 2012, petitioning period. Judge Payne's ten-year term expires this year, and he would have been eligible for re-election, but would have been able to serve only two years before reaching the mandatory retirement age.

An Upper West Side resident, Kibbie Franklyn Payne, a Howard University School of Law graduate, serves as a designated ("acting") Supreme Court Justice in the Bronx Civil Term. He was elected in 2002 from Manhattan's 8th Civil Court District [bounded by Fifth Ave. from E. 110th Street to the Harlem (East) River at 155th Str. and East 110th Str. from 5th Ave. to the East River. (The district also includes Randall's and Ward's Islands)].

The party's district leaders in that area are said to favor Maria Veronica Rosado, Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick, and Olga Statz. If Statz runs, she may have an uncontested Primary and would thus clear the way for Lisa Sokoloff to have also an uncontested Primary in the 3rd Civil Court District (14th Str. to W. 65th Str., West of 7th Ave. to the Hudson River) where the two are currently running.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Vote "No Endorsement" for Judges (in N.Y. County)

By Alan Flacks - (212) 840+12.34

There is good reason to vote a "no endorsement" (with one exception, q.v., infra*) for N.Y. County Civil Court judges.

In 1977, the New York County Democratic party incorporated a screening panel for judges in its rules. These were to be--and were--open panels. The names of the panelists were made public before they began their interviews. In fact, at one time the New York Law Journal also published the names of the panelists.

Under County Leaders Miriam Bockman and Herman Denny Farrell (1977 to 2009) the panelists’ names were public at the outset of their work. Indeed, Farrell's co-law chair Arthur Grieg stated at the March, 2012, County District Leader meeting that he gave the panelists names to all applicants. "Candidates have an absolute right to know the names of panel members reviewing their applications and which group designated them. I always gave the list to any candidate who requested the list. . . I found that candidates having the names of panel members aided the process by identifying possible issues of bias, conflict with a panel member. . . . "

With the advent of Keith Wright as county leader, the panelists names are kept secret, and he has been chastised thrice for doing that in Daily News editorials.

Former panelist and panel administrator attorney Steven De Castro wrote in part: "It is absolutely right that the panelists have a duty to protect themselves from outside influence, but that is not related to the issue of whether the panelists' names are released. . . The complaint of potential conflicts of interest commonly arises every year, but I don't see how this problem can ever be addressed if the panelists' names are kept secret. . . ."

Secrecy from the public causes the appearance of impropriety said former Lexington Dems Club State Committeeman Bud Plautz. And former Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman said: "I was the first panel administrator under reform rules when Miriam Bockman became County Leader. No-one ever said they were secret or treated them that way; in fact, every panelist was introduced to every applicant by name and organization whose leader sent them." Indeed, attorney Stanley Geller, who started the panel screening (initially called "The Geller Panels") said "The panelist names are public; their work is confidential."

Secret Keith Wright Panels. Yet here are the current myriad open panels where all the panelists' names are made public before they interview candidates:
The Governor's four Appellate Division screening panels; the State Constitution's Court of Appeals screening panel; the Mayor's Committee on the Judiciary [for Family, Criminal, & interim Civil courts]; the Office of Court Administration's thirteen judicial qualification panels; the Schumer/Gillibrand screening panels for the Federal judiciary; AND--lo! [after Clarence Norman went to prison for selling judgeships]--the Kings County "Regular" Dems screening panel is public. BUT NOT KEITH WRIGHT's, who has secret screening panels after years of open panels under Bockman and Farrell (1977 to 2009)! This is a serious attack on the whole screening panel system and an attempt to go back to the Tammany Hall DeSapio days.

Vote “no endorsement.” A note as to the calibre of the applicants. Three factors obtain. However flawed the panel, the panelists--as do most jurors--rise to the occasion. Second, the lawyers in New York County who are seeking judgeships are generally a cut-above average. And third, most importantly, many of these applicants have applied in years past and were vetted by proper panels.
*The exception: Anil Singh, running for re-election, because he was vetted a decade ago by a proper panel, and should be endorsed, especially in view of his accomplished record over these past years as a designated ("acting") Supreme Court Justice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Primary Date Changed

22 May 2012
Primary Election Date Changed

The September, 2012, Primary Election, originally set for Tuesday, 11th September, was changed to Thursday, 13th September, 2012. The bill, which past both the dysfunctional Senate on the 15th inst. (S7418 - introduced by O'Mara) and the Assembly yesterday (A10112 - introduced by some guy named Silver [Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.]) was delivered to the Governor, who signed it.

This won't change the dates of petitioning and filing [E.L. 6-134(4) & 158] and the judicial nominating convention [between 18 and 24 Sept.; E.L. 6-158(5)], but will change the last day to register to vote for this Sept. Primary election.

A New Blog on the Courts & Judiciary

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Tumult in First Dept. over Well-Cloaked Deliberative Procedures

Dan Wise, a former long-time reporter for the New York Law Journal, reports that some judges in the First Department have begun meeting when they are assigned to the same panel to discuss the appeals on their calendar which in short order they will hear being argued. The story reveals that the convening of the pre-argument meetings has stirred controversy within the court and shines a light on a new development on how oral arguments are handled in the First Department. It also reveals a sharp dispute over what transpires, and why, at the meetings.

Now is the winter of our fiscal discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of Mario;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our Senate
In the deep bosom of the Catskills buried.
Tele.: (212) 840+12.34

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bruce Gould 1928-2012

Bruce Jordan Gould died at age 83. A 1953 graduate of the Columbia Law School, he was a former Housing Court Judge and previously a high-ranking official of N.Y.C. H.P.D. and the City R.& R.A. He was also a friend of taxicab riders getting the City Council to pass a bill to allow passengers with children seven years of age and under to sit upon the adults' lap. Funeral was Friday, 11th May, 2012, at 11 A.M. at the Riverside Memorial Chapel, Amsterdam Ave. at W. 76th Str., Manh. Burial at Beth David cemetery, Elmont, L.I.

Published in The New York Times on May 9, 2012:

GOULD--Honorable Bruce J.
, 83. Never out of love from the first evening walk with his wife to be, Karolyn, of 53 years. Experienced his greatest sense of contentment when simply in the same room as his wife, children and grandchildren. Innovative policy maker and judge. Relentless advocate dedicated to a life of public service, particularly to improving and safeguarding the housing of New Yorkers. His family's loss will be eased by the legacy of his significant contributions to improve the lives of others and by the love he shared with family and his remarkable world of friends. Predeceased by his wife. Survived by his four children, and their spouses: Sarah Kagan and her husband Stewart, Tom and his wife Maura, Roger and his wife Cathy Wagner, Melinda Konopko and her husband Elliot and nine grandchildren--Andrew, Joan, Ruth, Leo, Penelope, Aviva, Adam, Charlotte and Oliver. He is also survived by his brother Arnold and his wife Pearl and his sister-in-law, Barbara Elliot. Funeral will be at Riverside Memorial (76th and Amsterdam) on Friday, May 11 at 11 am. Donations: Karolyn and Bruce Gould Literacy Fund

Tonight-Thurs. 10 May '12 Events

10th May, 2012, Thursday at 5:30 P.M. Harry S ["for nothing"] Truman Democratic Club fund-raiser. Seward Park community room, East B'way (Montgomery/Grand Sts.), Manh. $

10th May, 2012, Thursday, 10th May, 2012, at 6:30 P.M. Lenox Hill Democratic Club. BBQ cookout, backyard of Reifs Tavern, 302 East 92nd Str. (betw. 2nd & 1st Aves.), Manh. Cash bar.