Tags: stop | frisk | judge | ruling

Legal Analyst Callan: Stop and Frisk Decision a 'Shocker'

Friday, 01 Nov 2013 03:44 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

The court ruling that blocks reforms to New York City's controversial stop-and-frisk program and removes the judge who ordered the changes is a rare legal decision nobody could have predicted, noted trial attorney and CNN legal analyst Paul Callan says.

"This was a shocker, an absolute shocker of a decision," Callan told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"You never, never hear of this happening with a federal judge . . . It's such a rare thing that you'd have to go a lot of years before you hear of another case of this happening."

On Thursday, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals removed Judge Shira Scheindlin from the case. The three-judge appeals panel said Scheindlin had made improper remarks in court and to the media and "ran afoul" of the judicial code.

Three months ago, Scheindlin, overseeing a lawsuit filed against the procedure, ruled that the stop-and-frisk tactics used by police — which officials say deter crime but others believe target minorities — were unconstitutional.

She said police had violated the civil rights of thousands of New Yorkers by targeting male minorities.

"Neither side, the city nor the plaintiffs who brought the case, asked for the removal of the judge," Callan said.

"So it was a surprise to everybody when the appellate courts said, you know something, she acted improperly, she probably was in violation of the code of judicial ethics, and we are removing her from the case."

Callan believes Thursday's decision paves the way for full court for appeal, which could result in a reversal.

But the entire issue could be moot.

"We're going to have a new mayor in New York City. If [Bill] de Blasio comes in and says we're withdrawing the appeal, Scheindlin's ruling would stand. De Blasio's already issued a public statement saying that he's very disappointed and upset with the appellate court's ruling," Callan said.

"So there's no question that he'll instruct his corporation counsel to withdraw the appeal. But maybe the case gets fast tracked also. The appellate court, knowing this might happen … [will] have it decided under the Bloomberg administration. It's going to be very interesting to see what these judges do."

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