Legal Ethics Forum: In stop-and-frisk case, Second Circuit stays remedies, rebukes trial judge for ethics lapse, reassigns case

The post below contains some discussion of the issues raised by the 2dCircuit’s removal of Judge Shira Sheindlin from the NYPD stop and frisk case. The judge disputes the accuracy of some of the reporting. The 2d Circuit objects to her apparent self-defence, and declares her unit to continue as the judge on the controversial case which challenges the New York City Police Department’s aggressive stop and frisk progam. – GWC.

Legal Ethics Forum: In stop-and-frisk case, Second Circuit stays remedies, rebukes trial judge for ethics lapse, reassigns case.

Opinion below. Key excerpt:

The case is REMANDED to the District Court for the sole purpose of implementation of this Order, and the mandate shall otherwise remain with this Court until the completion of the appeals process.

Upon review of the record in these cases, we conclude that the District Judge ran afoul of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, Canon 2 (“A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.”); see also Canon 3 (C)(1) (“A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned . . . .”), and that the appearance of partiality surrounding this litigation was compromised by the District Judge’s improper application of the Court’s “related case rule,” see Transfer of Related Cases, S.D.N.Y. & E.D.N.Y. Local Rule 13(a), and by a series of media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court.

Accordingly, we conclude that, in the interest, and appearance, of fair and impartial administration of justice, UPON REMAND, these cases shall be assigned to a different District Judge, chosen randomly under the established practices of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. This newly-designated District Judge shall implement this Court’s mandate staying all proceedings and otherwise await further action by the Court of Appeals on the merits of the ongoing appeals.

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