Michael Mukasey: NYC Stop-and-Frisk Decision 'Unfortunate'

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 06:22 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Former U.S. Attorney Michael Mukasey says a judge's ruling that the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional was wrongheaded and will eventually be reversed.

"[The] decision was probably expected but is really unfortunate," Mukasey told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"This judge has taken on herself the authority to essentially regulate the New York City Police Department."

Story continues below video.

In her decision, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin called the policy in which police officers can stop and search anybody they suspect of involvement in a crime "indirect racial profiling," resulting in discrimination against blacks and Hispanics.

"No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life," Scheindlin said in her ruling.

The judge also ordered the appointment of an independent monitor and changes to current NYPD procedures.

"[She would] require that the police department have a pilot program … in which police would carry cameras on their bodies — based entirely on statistics — when what the law requires is an intent to discriminate," Mukasey said.

But Scheindlin's decision lies on shaky legal ground, according to Mukasey, who served 18 years as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

"I don't know about [it going to] the Supreme Court. If I had to bet, I would certainly bet that it's going to be overturned," he said.

"This is going to have the durability of one of those $3 umbrellas that you buy in New York and they collapse as soon as the wind kicks up."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who says stop-and-frisk has resulted in a lower crime rate, plans to appeal Scheindlin's ruling.

On the subject of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's order that federal prosecutors no longer seek maximum sentences for some low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, Mukasey believes it defies logic.

"It’s interesting, not particularly logical, but interesting. If there are sensible proposals to be made for diminishing the amount of incarceration, I'm all for them. If there are sensible proposals to be made for eliminating mandatory minimums, I'm all for that," he said. "But saying you're not going to enforce the law isn't the way to do it … If we want to get rid of those [mandatory minimums] then the way to do is to pass another law getting rid of them."

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