Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Westchester DA Janet DiFiore Is Investigated For Fraud

DA improperly got her maid welfare: probe

Last Updated:4:25 AM, May 29, 2012
Posted:12:26 AM, May 29, 2012

Janet DiFiore

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore pulled strings to get her family’s live-in housekeeper food stamps, cash assistance and Medicaid benefits, according to an internal report from the county’s Department of Social Services.
For the past year, Social Services has been probing how DiFiore’s housekeeper was suddenly approved for welfare benefits after having been previously denied three times for inconsistencies in her applications, The Post has learned.
“Okay we got to the bottom of this case. This was a political favor for Janet DiFiore’s maid. It is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE,” Dhyalma Vazquez, a county anti-fraud investigator, wrote in an internal e-mail June 30, 2011.
Vazquez, who also chairs the Yonkers Independence Party, alleged in the e-mail to Department of Social Services Commissioner Kevin McGuire that DiFiore’s housekeeper, Jamaican immigrant Marina Buchanan, should never have received benefits.
In a series of e-mails from June and July of last year, Vazquez claimed that DiFiore, a Republican-turned- Democrat, had Buchanan’s case file improperly re-opened after the Yonkers branch office denied benefits.
 Buchanan, 58, was paid $200 a week in cash by DiFiore and got $315 a month in Social Security disability benefits, according to documents obtained by The Post.
It is unclear from the documents if Social Security taxes were paid on Buchanan’s wages.
Buchanan, who claimed she was a nanny and housekeeper for DiFiore since 1987, also didn’t disclose receiving the Social Security disability benefits while still working up to 18 hours a week for the DA.
Further, she had a credit card with a $55,000 limit, sources said, yet still sought county benefits.
“The question is why the special favor. Why are cases being opened in Central Office . . . Just because she is the District Attorney does not mean she is above the law!” Vazquez wrote.
County investigators are looking at the actions of a former Social Services official who is active in local Democratic politics, sources said.
Reached by phone, Vazquez, who has been with Social Services for 20 years, cited the ongoing investigation and declined to comment.
DiFiore’s spokesman, Lucian Chalfen, said, “It is a personal issue that is related to her and her husband and I can’t comment.”
Her three children are now all in their 20s. It’s unclear if Buchanan still works for DiFiore, who was first elected DA in 2005.
Buchanan, who could not be reached for comment, wrote in documents that she left the DA’s employ in May 2010.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

New York State Court Officers Association Sue For Collective-Bargaining Rights In Federal Court

NY Court Officers Sue to Stop New Legislation


Brooklyn attorney and Special Counsel Bruce BaronBrooklyn attorney and Special Counsel Bruce Baron
NEW YORK — The New York State Court Officers Association filed suit last week in Manhattan federal court, seeking to enjoin the state from enforcing what the Association claims is an unconstitutional law that allows its collective-bargaining agreement to be “unilaterally” altered.
The lawsuit filed on Thursday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York seeks “to protect the constitutional rights of the Association and its current and retired members,” it says.
The lawsuit claims that new legislation — Chapter 491 of the N.Y. Laws of 2011 — improperly permits the state to unilaterally change the Association’s collective-bargaining agreement and to implement one-sided cuts to health-insurance and prescription drug benefits that Association members and their families have been receiving for nearly 28 years.
“The state has used this new law to reduce its share of the payments towards health-insurance premiums in direct violation of the rights of the Association and its members,’ states the Association in a press release last week. “The lawsuit filed [Thursday], which the Association brought under the Contracts Clause and Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, seeks to stop the state from employing this law to make changes that should be the subject of collective bargaining with the union.”
Manhattan attorney  James E. Tyrrell, Jr.Manhattan attorney James E. Tyrrell, Jr.

Dennis Quirk, president of the Association, claims that allowing this law to be in effect could have a chilling effect on future court-officer recruitment.
“The consequences of the state’s reduction of its share of these premiums should not be underestimated — the recruitment of new court officers could be adversely affected while existing court officers may need to consider other employment options,” Quirk said. “We are therefore deeply concerned about the chilling effect that these cuts likely will have upon the access to and use of the courts by all New Yorkers. We are simply seeking for the state to honor its commitments and make any changes through the collective bargaining process.”
Brooklyn attorney Bruce Baron, of Baron Associates P.C., is special counsel to President Quirk.
James E. Tyrrell, Jr., a partner 
New York Court Officers Assoc. President Dennis QuirkNew York Court Officers Assoc. President Dennis Quirk
at Patton Boggs LLP is the lead attorney for the Association in this case.
“The Contracts Clause exists in the U.S. Constitution to protect against just this type of self-interested state action,” Tyrell said. “If states had free reign to enact legislation impairing and redefining the terms of their own contracts, public employees’ rights to collective bargaining would be rendered meaningless.”
The New York State Court Officers Association is an employee organization under the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act. For the past several decades, it has served as the sole, exclusive and recognized bargaining representative for collective negotiations on behalf of non-judicial employees of the State of New York Unified Court System, within the City of New York.
—Ryan Thompson
Brooklyn Daily Eagle


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sherry K. Cohen, Esq., Formerly of the DDC, Joins The Law Firm of Richard M. Maltz

Corrupt Manhattan 'Ethics' Attorney Sherry K. Cohen Available for Hire
May 23, 2012

In the 'Personal Notes on Lawyers' section of The New York Law Journal, published February 24, 2012, the legal community was advised that, "Sherry K. Cohen has joined the Law Firm of Richard M. Maltz as counsel focusing on attorney disciplinary cases, ethics consultations, admission for law graduates and attorney reinstatements. She was the first deputy chief counsel to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee."

On March 5, 2012, a New York Law Journal private ad/announcement was printed, "The Law Firm of Richard M. Maltz, PLLC is very pleased to announce that SHERRY K. COHEN former first deputy chief counsel to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee has joined the firm as counsel - Ms. Cohen will focus her practice on attorney disciplinary cases, ethics consultations, admission for law graduates and attorney reinstatements. Ms. Cohen will also work with Richard M. Maltz, Esq. on partnership issues and litigation between lawyers and their former law firms; litigation between clients and lawyers; ethics opinions; sanction and disqualification motions and, law firm risk management issues. - Sherry K. Cohen, Esq. Richard M. Maltz, PLLC 488 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor New York, NY 10022 212.705.4804 skcohen@maltz-law.com"

See Related Stories:
posted on Parentadvocates.org
In allowing Anderson to proceed with her retaliation claim, New York District Judge Shira Scheindlin found that her contention that the committee had "whitewashed" as many as nine cases touched upon a subject of public concern and was protected under the First Amendment. Can New York State residents now hope to see the start of an end to the NYS corrupt courts that harm, neglect, and harass the innocent?

Staff Attorney's $10 Million Lawsuit Proceeds Against Discipline Committee
The New York Law Journal by Daniel Wise - April 30, 2009

An attorney who was fired after working six years as a staff lawyer (see the roster of names on the left) at the 1st Department's disciplinary committee may proceed with a $10 million damage lawsuit that she was discharged in retaliation for claiming her superiors were "whitewashing" cases, a Southern District of New York judge ruled Monday. However, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, threw out the attorney's claim that she had been fired because she is black, in ruling on a summary judgment motion brought by the Office of Court Administration. Christine C. Anderson contended that her June 2007 firing was in retaliation for complaints she made to her superiors at the disciplinary committee that at least nine cases had been handled too leniently because the lawyers being investigated were politically connected or were represented by attorneys who had previously worked for the committee (NYLJ, Oct. 30, 2007). Anderson, who was born in Jamaica, also claimed the committee had discriminated against her on the basis of race, color and national origin.

The disciplinary committee operates under the aegis of the Appellate Division, First Department, and Anderson sued the OCA; Thomas J. Cahill, the committee's chief counsel during the years Anderson was employed there; Sherry K. Cohen, who became deputy chief counsel and Anderson's supervisor in 2003; and David Spokoney, the 1st Department's deputy clerk. With the exception of Cahill, who resigned in 2007 after 10 years in the post (NYLJ, July 23, 2007), the other individual defendants remain at their jobs. The 1st Department's disciplinary committee polices the conduct of attorneys practicing in Manhattan and the Bronx.

In allowing Anderson to proceed with her retaliation claim, Scheindlin found that her contention that the committee had "whitewashed" as many as nine cases touched upon a subject of public concern and was protected under the First Amendment. A jury will have to determine whether the defendants fired Anderson because of the concerns she raised or because she had been insubordinate, as the defendants contend, Justice Scheindlin concluded in Anderson v. State of New York, 07 Civ. 9599. Scheindlin noted that Anderson in a "host" of e-mails had made "evident" her "hostility toward" and "refusal to cooperate" with Cohen, her supervisor. Nonetheless, Scheindlin ruled that "a reasonable jury could find that the defendants refused to remove Cohen as Anderson's supervisor so they could use Anderson's inevitable resistance to Cohen's continuing supervision as a pretext for firing her."


In concluding that Anderson's complaints touch upon matters of public concern, Scheindlin rejected OCA's argument that Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410, a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court precedent, was controlling. The attorney general's office, which represented OCA and the individual defendants, contended that Anderson's First Amendment claim must be rejected under the authority of Garcetti. The Supreme Court rejected a First Amendment retaliation claim brought by a deputy district attorney who claimed he was fired because he recommended the dismissal of a case. The prosecutor had urged dismissal because a flawed affidavit was used to obtain a search warrant. Rather than raising an issue of public concern, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in a 5-4 ruling in Garcetti that the prosecutor was acting as a public employee with regard to an internal matter when he "fulfill(ed) a responsibility to advise his supervisor about how best to proceed with a pending case." Scheindlin found Anderson's case to be "patently distinguishable" from Garcetti. "The prosecutor in Garcetti spoke about a single case pending in his office," she wrote, while "Ms. Anderson spoke out about systemic problems at the [disciplinary committee], thereby making her speech protected." "Where a public employee's speech concerns a government agency's breach of trust, as it does here," she wrote, "the speech relates to more than a mere personal grievance and therefore falls outside Garcetti's restrictions."


Scheindlin found that none of the three remarks that Anderson alleged Cohen made had any bearing on her bias claims. One alleged remark -- that the homeless are "smelly" -- did not reflect upon a group protected by federal civil rights laws, the judge ruled. The other two alleged comments -- that there are too many blacks in the subway and blacks were moving near Cohen's vacation home -- were not "directed" at Anderson, "unrelated to her discharge" and allegedly uttered about one year before her firing, Scheindlin wrote.

Anderson also presented deposition testimony from three present or former minority employees who had expressed views that Cohen was biased. Two of those witnesses, one of whom was a lawyer, expressed views that reflected subjective beliefs that are "devoid of any factual circumstances linking Cohen to any discriminatory conduct," Scheindlin found. The testimony of the third minority witness, Kenneth Van Lew, an investigator who left the office at the time of his deposition, provided "concrete instances in which he believes he was treated less favorably by Cohen than similarly situated Caucasian employees," Scheindlin wrote. But even though Van Lew's testimony provided "some credible evidence" of discrimination, the bias-based claims had to be dismissed, Scheindlin concluded, because "there is simply no evidence" that any alleged bias had tainted the decision of the ultimate deciding authority, the 1st Department's justices serving upon the court's Departmental Disciplinary Liaison Committee. The state defendants were represented by Assistant Attorneys General Lee A. Alderstein and Wesley E. Bauman. The attorney general's office did not respond to a request for comment. Anderson was represented by John A. Beranbaum of Beranbaum Menken Ben-Asher & Bierman.

State Claims Attorney Violated Superior's Orders

New York state, in a motion for summary judgment filed last week, portrayed an attorney who sought $10 million damages for her firing by the First Department's Departmental Disciplinary Committee as violating the direct orders of her superiors. The lawyer, Christine C. Anderson, filed the lawsuit in 2007 claiming she was fired after six years as a staff attorney because she complained the committee's chief counsel and his top deputy were "whitewashing" complaints against "certain select attorneys" (NYLJ, Oct. 30, 2007). A brief filed for the defendants - the state and three committee officials - stated that instead of following her direct supervisor's orders, Ms. Anderson engaged in "an eight month campaign to circumvent and berate" the supervisor, Sherry K. Cohen. The brief, which was written by Assistant Attorneys General Lee Alan Alderstein and Wesley E. Bauman, also contended that the "highest officers" in the First Department courthouse were aware of Ms. Anderson's "acerbic and posturing conduct." Ms. Anderson's attorney, John A. Beranbaum, retorted that the defendant's brief is using an "employers' time-honored technique of trying to trivialize a valid whistle-blowing claim" by labeling it "a disgruntled employee's personal grievance." Mr. Beranbaum, of Beranbaum Menken Ben-Asher & Bierman, added, "at the end of the day, this tactic will prove unsuccessful." - Daniel Wise

Chief Counsel for First Department Set to Retire
New York Law Journal Newsbriefs, July 23, 2007

Thomas J. Cahill, chief counsel to the disciplinary committee of the Appellate Division, First Department, will soon retire, Presiding Justice Jonathan Lippman announced Friday. Mr. Cahill will continue to head the committee until his replacement is appointed. He was named chief counsel in 1998. Individuals interested in applying for the position may send resumes to David Spokony, Deputy Clerk of the Court, 27 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10010. Mr. Spokony is also accepting resumes for the position of secretary to the court's committee on character and fitness. The position became vacant when Sarah Jo Hamilton retired last month.

Ethics Complaints Against Some NY Lawyers Whitewashed, Attorney Alleges
New York Lawyer, October 30, 2007
By Daniel Wise
New York Law Journal

A former staff attorney at the First Department Disciplinary Committee has filed a federal lawsuit charging she was fired in June in retaliation for complaining that her superiors had engaged in a "pattern and practice of whitewashing and routinely dismissing complaints against certain select attorneys."

Christine C. Anderson, who had worked for six years at the disciplinary committee, seeks $10 million in damages, claiming retaliation for the exercise of her First Amendment rights and discrimination because she is of Jamaican origin and black.

Ms. Anderson also asks for the appointment of a federal monitor to oversee operation of the disciplinary committee.

David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on pending litigation.

Ms. Anderson alleged two instances in which her recommendations had been overridden or changed by her superiors at the committee.

In 2005, Ms. Anderson charged in her complaint, she discovered that the chief counsel of the disciplinary committee, Thomas J. Cahill, and Sherry K. Cohen, its first deputy counsel, were "apparently engaged in a 'numbers game' and practice" of "selectively" dismissing complaints against attorneys for their "own personal and political reasons."

A possible second, or alternative reason for the dismissals, the complaint stated, was that the prosecutions of the complaints would be "burdensome or otherwise 'unworthy' of prosecution."

Ms. Anderson also charged that in one incident, in July 2006, Ms. Cohen physically blocked her from leaving her office and, in so doing, had dug her nails into the plaintiff's hand, causing scratches.

Mr. Cahill declined to comment on the allegations; Ms. Cohen did not return a call for comment.

In addition to suing Mr. Cahill and Ms. Cohen, Ms. Anderson named as defendants Justice John T. Buckley, who was presiding justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, until May; former Clerk of Court Catherine O'Hagan Wolfe, who resigned in April to become clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and the Office of Court Administration.

The case, Anderson v. State of New York, was filed on Friday in the Southern District, according to Ms. Anderson's attorney, Frederick K. Brewington of Hempstead.

Mr. Cahill's retirement was announced in July, though he is remaining as chief counsel until a successor is chosen.

The first instance of a "whitewash" alleged in Ms. Anderson's complaint occurred "in or about 2003" in "a highly sensitive investigation," which had uncovered "overwhelming concrete evidence of misconduct" by an attorney, Ms. Anderson alleged.

The matter was dropped despite her recommendation that a formal complaint be filed against the lawyer, Ms. Anderson alleged.

She also charged that a large file she had amassed containing "indisputable evidence of misconduct" had been "gutted."

The second instance in which Ms. Anderson's handling of a case was overridden occurred about two years later, she alleged.

In that case, she stated, Mr. Cahill had asked her to write an introductory paragraph to the policy committee, explaining her recommendation that an attorney be given a non-public admonition rather than be the subject of a formal proceeding that could lead to a public sanction.
Ms. Anderson explained in her complaint, that, although the results of a "complex investigation" of the attorney "argued strongly in favor of charges," there was "lack of actual proof of a conversion." She also stated there had been an "initial lack of cooperation" from the client complaining against the lawyer.

Ms. Anderson stated that she wrote an introductory paragraph explaining the gravity of the attorney's conduct, but that Ms. Cohen had rewritten it, "deleting facts" Ms. Anderson had uncovered during her investigation and conclusions she had reached.

Ms. Anderson quoted Ms. Cohen as saying the reason she had rewritten the paragraph was to avoid having the policy committee send the matter back to staff for the preparation of a formal complaint.

Ms. Anderson further charged that Ms. Cohen had done this because "she had a prior working relationship" with the attorney for the lawyer under investigation and sought to avoid having his client formally charged "as a favor."

The complaint did not identify the two lawyers who were the subjects of the proceedings cited by Ms. Anderson. Mr. Brewington said in an interview that he would not name them "at this time."

Related Case: Gizella Weisshaus Sues Ed Fagan and other Lawyers who stole her father's money and property

IVIEWIT LAWSUIT: Stephen Krane, Esq.
Iviewit press release

Sex scandal at the DDC

Posted by Corrupt Courts Administrator at 10:59 AM

NYC attorney said...

It's about Time!
October 31, 2007 11:16 AM
Anonymous said...

Let's make a copy of this complaint and file it for the ninth judical grievance committee. You would just need to change the address and a few names.
October 31, 2007 12:02 PM
NY bar member said...

After reading the article the terms Cover-up and Obstruction come to mind. These are also the same things that took Nixon down.
October 31, 2007 12:41 PM
Anonymous said...

a few years ago i got a copy of the Annual report.
Then I called the census And got a
breakdown of the local population
it was roughly
10% for Asian
28% for Latino/Hispanic
26% for African American

That would mean that by the number of employes that were working thier would have had to been +/-
33 Latino/Hispanic employes
and i think it was something like +/- 12 Asians
Thier was only 1 Asian, 3 maybe 4 Latinos/Hispanic
I started wondering because i went to the office. In front of me thier was 2 Asian woman. The mother did not speak english and the daughter did not speak to much english either. They had hired a lawyer for an imigration problem.
The lawyer did nothing but took thier money. the lady behing the desk handed her a lawyer complaint form written in english. She did not understand. The Asian very politly pleaded with the woman if they could speak to someone. ( i think it was time sensitive) the employee ignored her. The 2 women left in the same elavator I did.
They were crying was worst. i spoke to the woma about my complaint and got the blow off answer also. I speak english.
I went to the EEOC office in downtie I found that i did not have enough proof to file a complaint. I told a lawyer I know
he thought that the ratio were
really bad. He was shocked when i showed him the numbers.

Their are so many problems over thier that you need the Federal goverment to look into it. Maybe even local law schools and minority groups

Cahill Should not be the only one
fired they all should.

Also they get about 2,000 complaints a year. Therefore how many complaints were ignored over the years. Even if you were not friends with Cahill what about the other people that work thier burrying complaints against thier friends.
October 31, 2007 1:36 PM
court officer said...

The Courts/Judiciary are a cesspool operated by rats...I work there, I know and I can't wait to get my pension.
October 31, 2007 1:53 PM
court officer said...

The Courts/Judiciary are a cesspool operated by rats...I work there, I know and I can't wait to get my pension.
October 31, 2007 1:53 PM
shocked ! said...

Am I dreaming? So, the people at the top of the group that oversees ethics are themselves crooked?!?

Immediately arrest this nitwit Cahill!

I can't believe this !!

Bring in the feds !!!!
October 31, 2007 4:41 PM
Anonymous said...

Cahill, Cohen et al. go directly to jail and do not stop.
October 31, 2007 8:48 PM
Anonymous said...

Ethics WHAT ETHICS? They got caught, the fix is in that's how they have controlled things for soooo looong.
October 31, 2007 9:26 PM
the shadow said...

Please be advised that today - Wednesday, 10/31/07 was the last day of taking up space at the Un-Ethics Group for our good friend Thomas Cahill. We all know that he will be sorely missed by all of his dear friends along with all the bartenders that he knows all too well. The WAKE will be held tomorrow at Moran's (Broadway & Thomas St.), flowers requested. As part of this devastating news Tom's sidekick/drinking compatriot Sherry K. Cohen had the chutspah to formally apply for Tom Cahill's position, beleive it or not! Unfortunately, she recently received a telephone call from the First Dept. rejecting her. She is not taking it well. Too bad, you know how it is, things happen Sherry. The buzz now is, how long will Sherry K. Cohen last? However, all is not lost, reliable sources have stated that Sherry K. Cohen will grace the WAKE for Tom Cahill in her official capacity as the authorized libation sampler at the open bar. Everyone is encouraged to bring your cameras for one last photo op of Tom and Sherry together.
The question for Tom will be where in CT will he be residing, could it be Danbury?
Let's all give Tom a big sent-off and don't forget to pass the word we want a big showing.
October 31, 2007 11:44 PM
Anonymous said...

they neeed to get rid of more people.
Rebecca Taub-Rubber stamp rejection letters without even reading the complaint.
Marci Sterling- does nothing but collect a pay check.

How about hiring people based on thier QUALIFICATIONS and not thier conections.
The Feds neeed to be brought in.
To try protect people`s Civil rights. What about ensuring N.Y
that they will get competent council.
If you are a doctor and you found incompotent or unqualified to do what you are doing. You will probably lose your license and go to jail. How about holding Cahill
liable. Cahill has been collecting pay for years. What about making him pay it back. Put it towards the clients they screewed.
November 1, 2007 1:24 AM
nyc atty said...

This story is in the NYTimes today, maybe the Federal people will see it and do something so the honest atty's don't get tarred with what is coming.
November 1, 2007 10:16 AM
insider said...

The PJ's phone has been ringing without stop about this. Jonathan Lippman is not a happy person. Watchout below
November 1, 2007 10:23 AM
Anonymous said...

The fly on the wall must have been partying with Sherri Cohen when the posting was made. Moran's is located at 103 Washington St. @ Rector St., have been told that the party starts at 4 PM. See you all!
November 1, 2007 10:32 AM
another insider said...

Forget the flowers at the party, that was someone's idea of a joke. Be advised that Sherry Cohen was going to be the one to collect all the envelopes for Tom, however, apparently due to circumstances, Sherry has thought better of that, assigning the task to a secretary. So you know who you are, all of Tom's good friends from all the big law firms be sure you are there and do the right thing. Remember we will be watching. Also, somebody might consider employing the very talented Tom Cahill, that's the least someone could do after all he's done for people. Don't forget now we want to see plenty of big fat envelopes containing the President's pictures. Let everyone know and see you all at Moran's.
November 1, 2007 1:08 PM
federal employee said...

The NYT story is very interesting, we didn't know these things.
November 1, 2007 1:30 PM
westchester victim said...

FBI agent O'Connor is tight with Judge Scarpino who is an ex-FBI agent
November 1, 2007 1:38 PM
Anonymous said...

This is to all the attorneys and court personnel who post. I want to thank you all for not only reading this blog but responding with comments and information. It is the victims of the courts that complain, but get dismissed with the "disgruntled litigants" tag.
I know that there are some honest attorneys out there. Once I was in an elevator in the 111 MLK courthouse, when a group of four or five attorneys from some big firm got on and were incredulous at how the opposing counsel outright lied in court and got away with it. It was surprising and interesting to see their reaction.
Obviously the insiders are the ones who know how all the fixing is done and it is left to the victims to complain. But without more specific information on how the courts and cases are corrupted and fixed, those complaining just sound like losers.
Many of the small changes that are taking place is only the result of insiders providing information and then the litigants making a stink about it that anything has changed.
Keep leaking information and others will follow. Since this blog was first started the numbers of insiders posting keeps increasing. A very good sign.
Again, thanks for coming forward and keep posting.
November 1, 2007 2:02 PM
media person said...

Like the blog much information - the Times called it a Cover-up! And what a Cover-up.
November 1, 2007 6:55 PM
Anonymous said...

the times nailed it, it is a BIG COVER-UP
November 1, 2007 8:26 PM
the insider said...

Everyone is having a good time at the party for Tom, but at the same time everyone is concerned. This is much bigger that anyone knows, Tom got out at a very good time, now everyone has to watch their back.
November 1, 2007 8:46 PM
a judge said...

My sincere compliments to Ms. Christine C. Anderson as an attorney and former employee of Disciplinary Committee for her ethical and moral integrity in placing this critical issue in the public forum where I believe it belongs at this time. Since there has been no replacement named for Thomas Cahill's position, I would like to suggest Ms. Christine C. Anderson since she is intimately acquainted with the situation of this scandal in the Judiciary system.
November 2, 2007 6:49 AM
Anonymous said...

Well Judge, you are right it is a SCANDAL and you probably don't know 10% of it! Obstruction of Justice is a crime, as you know!
November 2, 2007 7:01 AM
victim of Pirro's gang said...

could someone provide the NY Times link to the story,
November 2, 2007 12:36 PM
Anonymous said...

November 2, 2007 3:39 PM
ny lawyer said...

Bravo to Ms. Anderson for her courage. There are lawyers that are not happy with the OCA and the disgrace that we have to bear.
November 2, 2007 6:09 PM
Anonymous said...

Hey, Sherri baby, are still screwing people? Better be careful you will wind up getting screwed yourself. You know what I mean, hon!
November 2, 2007 7:49 PM
an insider said...

the buzz is deafening on this one, the word is that things that were deeped sixed will be - repeat - will be looked at hard again - no free pass anymore
November 2, 2007 9:13 PM
lawyer victim said...

I filed papers with the OCA on my lawyer and just got jerked around, now I know why. Would like to sue them all but I don't trust lawyers (including Judges) after what I've been through. The whole system sinks.
November 3, 2007 9:59 AM
Anonymous said...

As far as OCA hiring ms. Anderson for any job..no way! OCA does not approve of employees with integrety and ethics. Their own counsel's office is loaded with mediocre, unethical, butt kissing lawyers! Especially under judy kaye, even the lowest paid employees must never address any thing biased or discriminatory, even though OCA'S handbook demands that said behavior be immediately brought to the attention of OCA and they should be given the opportunity to address SAME.....AKA.....silence you, using any means! I would love an opportunity to discuss this with any OCA superior. So as long OCA remains uncertain about their future, the same hiring and reporting methods stay in place...i know i worked for them for 30 years!
November 3, 2007 10:10 AM
lawyer victim said...

I what to continue and say, yes I'm DISGRUNTLED and why shouldn't I be after enduring a corrupt system run by con men and fraudsters. When I went to the newspapers they didn't want to touch it. Their lawyers told them not to run it. Again, the iron grip of control, one lawyer protect another. Maybe the newpapers have change their minds now, we'll see.
November 3, 2007 10:16 AM
Anonymous said...

The Times story headline is "Suit Accuses Court Panel of Cover-up" - this is a SCANDAL and COVER-UP so where is Judge Kaye & Lippman? What are they doing about it? Answer nothing, since they are part of it. A new broom sweeps clean. Get rid of the permanent Judiciary, NOW.
November 3, 2007 10:47 AM
disgruntled said...

I too was called "DISGRUNTLED" by attorneys and a Judge. I told them all that I was not "DISGRUNTLED" to use their term, they were "DISGRUNTLED" that I figured out the fraud that they had pulled. They all didn't say a word after that. I am disapointed that the system has clearly failed. Still fighting....
November 3, 2007 10:55 AM
Anonymous said...

With the cover-up in OCA of regular complaints, you can only imagine what has happen to all the compaints that were filed against Judges. That's another big cover-up.
November 3, 2007 1:56 PM
Anonymous said...

The NEW STATE COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT has covered up stories about judges they don't want to investigate, esp. chief administrative judges and elected officials of most, but generally higher courts. I know this factually, because i know members of the commission and they covered up something i attempted to report and they know my credibility! That is all OK FOR NOW, because the story will come out and the commission will have to explain to investigators et al shortly, their reasons for not even inquiring about the facts of the new complaint, knowing they had 2 yrs of knowledge of another complaint that was heavily related and they had investigated! Anything that says STATE you must be suspect of...they ALL covering for each other!
November 3, 2007 5:26 PM
Anonymous said...

yeah, the judges are guilty too another cover-up
November 3, 2007 6:30 PM
attorney said...

I've had a Judge tell me that if I fought on an issue that the Judge wanted a certain way, not to ever come back to his court because I was dead meat, he would screw me. I filed a complaint, it went to the black hole and I have stayed away from that Judge. Investigate all the Judges.
November 3, 2007 8:20 PM
Anonymous said...

The cover-up on the Judges must be wild!
November 3, 2007 8:44 PM
retired court officer said...

They should look at the Judges, if they really investigated them the whole thing will come apart......
November 3, 2007 9:07 PM
a victim said...

I learned the trick the Judges do when you don't do what they want, first they rule against you. Then knowing that you are right, you want to appeal which your lawyer encourages. Meanwhile, the meters are all running and the lawyers are making big bucks. So you go through the appeal process and get beat-up and also lose, but everyone is making big bucks except you. Later you learn that at least 85% (maybe 95%) of Judge's decisions are not reversed, of course, no one ever informs you of that fact. Then much later you see a Judge (Sonda Miller who voted against you in favor of the Judge) becomes a partner in the law firm of McCarthy Fingar (Frank Streng) who have extremely close ties to Judge Anthony J. Scarpino. It comes full circle back to where it all began with Judge Scarpino, now it all makes sense. It is a game to seperate you from as much of your money as they can, it has nothing to do with JUSTICE or RIGHT. It's a big CON GAME on the public run by the lawyers and Judges in their black robes. But it is all legal because their all lawyers and Judges.
November 4, 2007 9:58 AM
Anonymous said...

The only time the commission on judicial conduct examines a high powered judge ( someone they consider elected by the people (they are screwing)is if it makes the media! A public story is how they operate...fact! Their judicial investigating panel has many political members on it...check your city and see. These members also do their own little investigation with or without the commission's knowledge, because they can. However they are picked for this panel , i do not know, but i would love to see an ordinary citizen or two on it and then you will see the same expose/ as MS ANDERSON brought forward. The state comm. on judicial conduct should be part of the entire NY court investigation!
November 4, 2007 10:12 AM

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Southern District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin Approves Class For Stop-and-Frisk

Faulting City's 'Cavalier Attitude,' Judge OKs Stop-and-Frisk Class

New York Law Journal

Alluding to what she called "overwhelming evidence" that the New York Police Department is running a centralized stop-and-frisk program that has led to thousands of unconstitutional stops, a federal judge yesterday certified a 2008 class action suit challenging the controversial policy.
In the process, Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin (See Profile) said she found New York City's attitude toward the suit to be "deeply troubling." She criticized the city's Law Department for stating that a court order to block the practice would amount to "judicial intrusion" and arguing that no injunction could guarantee that suspicionless stops would never occur or would occur in only a certain number of cases.
The judge observed in Floyd v. City of New York, 08 Civ. 1034, that what was important at the class certification stage was "the substantive question of whether or not the unlawful stops of putative class members result from a common source: the department's policy of establishing performance standards and demanding increased levels of stops and frisks. The preponderance of the evidence shows that the answer to that question is yes."
She noted that the vast majority of New Yorkers who are unlawfully stopped will never file a lawsuit in response, and class-action status was created for just these kinds of cases.
Read the city's brief and the plaintiffs' brief.
The lawsuit alleged that the NYPD purposefully engaged in a widespread practice of concentrating its stop-and-frisk activity in black and Hispanic neighborhoods based on their racial composition rather than legitimate non-racial factors. The lawsuit said officers are pressured to meet quotas for stops, and they are punished if they do not.

Assembly Committees to Hold Hearings

Several Assembly committees will hold a hearing tomorrow in Manhattan on the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policies. The hearing will be held from 10:30-1:30 p.m. in the Assembly's hearing room, Room 1923, at 250 Broadway.
The committees organizing the hearing are Codes and Correction. Also participating is the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
To testify, contact Dee Levy, senior analyst to the Assembly Committee on Codes, at levyd@assembly.state.ny.us or 518-455-4313.
The Law Department had been fighting an uphill battle to block class certification, which has seemed virtually certain since Scheindlin rejected the city's motion for summary judgment in September (NYLJ, Sept. 1, 2001).
In her 57-page opinion, Scheindlin wrote that "Defendants' cavalier attitude towards the prospect of a 'widespread practice of suspicionless stops' displays a deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers' most fundamental constitutional rights."
And, she said, "if the NYPD is engaging in a widespread practice of unlawful stops, then an injunction seeking to curb that practice is not a 'judicial intrusion into a social institution' but a vindication of the Constitution and an exercise of the court's most important function: protecting individual rights in the face of the government's malfeasance."
A Law Department spokeswoman said yesterday,  "We respectfully disagree with the decision and are reviewing our legal options."
Lawyers for the named plaintiffs in the case expect Scheindlin's certification decision to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The plaintiffs are represented by Darius Charney and Sunita Patel of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Jonathan Moore and Jennifer Borchetta of Beldock Levine & Hoffman; and Eric Hellerman, Philip Irwin and Gretchen Hoff-Varner of Covington & Burling.
Charney said in a statement that the judge's ruling means that "those for whom this practice is a daily reality will now have an opportunity to challenge it as a violation of their fundamental constitutional rights and to ask the Court to order real changes in NYPD stop-and-frisk policy."

Crime-Fighting Tool?

According to the decision, more than 2.8 million stop-and-frisks were conducted between 2004 and 2009. Half were of blacks, 30 percent were of Latinos and only 10 percent were of whites.
The lawsuit charges the practice violates the Fourth Amendment's right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures and the 14th Amendment right to be free of discrimination based on race.
The numbers were worse last year, the plaintiffs charge, as a record 685,724 stops were made, an increase of 600 percent since Raymond Kelly was named police commissioner in 2002. Of those stopped in 2011, 84 percent were black or Hispanic and 88 percent of those stopped were not arrested and did not receive summons.
In denying the city's summary judgment motion in September, Scheindlin said that "the increasingly widespread use of this policing tool in New York City is not to be taken lightly, even in those cases where the individuals are not detained for more than a few minutes, and even if the practice causes some reduction in the City's crime rate."
The judge followed that opinion with another in April, when she ruled plaintiffs' expert, Jeffery Fagan, a Columbia Law professor and director of the school's Center for Crime, Community and Law, could testify at trial about his conclusions on racial disparities in the stops (NYLJ, April 17).
Scheindlin found Fagan's report, which analyzed 175,000 stops and focused on racial disparities and the extent to which they complied with the Fourth Amendment, was "methodologically sound," rejecting the city's challenge to his expertise.
The Law Department's Heidi Grossman wrote that Fagan is not a lawyer, "has never worked in a law enforcement field, has never completed a [stop-and-frisk] form, never conducted a Stop, Question & Frisk (SQF) and never observed more than a few SQF's or gone along with an NYPD officer to observe an SQF."
Scheindlin said in Wednesday's ruling that five nonprofit organizations have filed amicus briefs saying the stop-and-frisk practices are "harmful, degrading and demoralizing for too many young people in New York," and 27 of 51 New York City Council members filed a second amicus saying the practice "reinforces negative racial stereotypes" and have created "a growing distrust on the part of Black and Latino residents."
But the city shows no indication of backing down on a practice that the Bloomberg administration insists is an effective crime-fighting tool. It has contended from the beginning that it is not engaged in racial profiling but conducts the lion's share of stop-and-frisks in high crime areas, a contention disputed by the plaintiffs and Fagan.
Just last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that, over the past decade, stop-and-frisks deserve much credit for the dramatic drop in the city's murder rate, as 5,600 fewer people were killed compared with the previous decade.
"That's 5,600 men, women and children who are alive today who would not be" if the police did not engage in stop-and-frisk, Bloomberg said. "We know that 90 percent of the murder victims in this city are black and Hispanic. So 90 percent of those 5,600 probably would have been minorities."
In certifying a Fourth Amendment class, Scheindlin said that, in 6 percent of all documented stops, the officers' stated reasons for the stops were facially insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion: "That is to say, by their own explanations for their actions, NYPD officers conducted at least 170,000 unlawful stops between 2004 and 2009."
In 62,000 of those cases, she said, officers cited no more than a "furtive movement" to justify the stop, and in over 4,000 stops gave no reason other than "high crime area."
Certifying a Fourteenth Amendment subclass, Scheindlin cited the Fagan report as saying blacks and Latinos are significantly more likely to be stopped and frisked than whites "even after adjusting for local crime rates, racial composition of the local population, police patrol strength, and other social and economic factors predictive of police enforcement activity."
Moreover, she again cited Fagan for the notion that blacks and Hispanics "are treated more harshly during stop-and-frisk encounters with NYPD officers than whites who are stopped on suspicion of the same or similar crimes."
The city reached a settlement in 2003 on its stop-and-frisk policy in Daniels v. City Of New York, 99 Civ. 1695, agreeing to enact a policy against racial profiling, revise the form police use when they conduct a stop and conduct regular audits of those forms.
Scheindlin currently has two other, related stop-and-frisk cases, Davis v. City of New York, 10-cv-699, which challenges stops in New York City public housing, and Ligon v. City of New York, 12-cv-2274, which challenges stops in private buildings under the NYPD's "Operation Clean Halls" program. The program allows private landlords or building managers to enroll and have police patrol their hallways.
The city settled a fourth stop-and-frisk case this week, agreeing to cease the practice of stopping and frisking passengers of livery cabs whose drivers are part of a voluntary police safety program that allows police to stop livery cars without probable cause (NYLJ, May 16).
@|Mark Hamblett can be contacted at mhamblett@alm.com

Nicole Corrado, Appellate Division First Department Attorney, Sues the Court System

Attorney for Department Disciplinary Committee Sues Court System
The New York Law Journal by John Caher  -  May 16, 2012

An attorney for the Appellate Division, First Department's disciplinary committee alleges in a federal lawsuit that she was sexually harassed by two now-retired officials at the watchdog agency while a third retaliated against her for complaining.

Nicole Corrado also suggests that after she lodged a complaint officials retaliated by targeting her attorney in an unrelated property matter. She claims that the committee launched an investigation into allegations of bribery and forgery against her attorney, and then suddenly dropped the matter when he abandoned her case.  Additionally, Corrado claims she was punished for supporting a lawsuit brought against the court system by a colleague.  Corrado v. New York State Unified Court System, 12-cv-1748, filed in the Eastern District on April 10, alleges violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Corrado, who has served as a principal attorney at the disciplinary committee since 2006, claims she endured years of harassment by her supervisor, Andral Bratton, and that the committee's chief investigator, Vincent Raniere, touched her inappropriately and forcibly kissed her on several occasions.
According to the complaint, when Corrado reported the "pattern of sexual harassment" by Bratton and Raniere in 2008, the court system referred the matter to its inspector general. However, only the allegations against Bratton were investigated, the complaint claims. The complaint states that Bratton admitted during the Office of the Inspector General probe that he was "smitten" with Corrado and crossed "an emotional boundary." Bratton was transferred to another unit at the same salary and Corrado was simply told to "avoid" him, according to the complaint.  Corrado alleges that while her sexual harassment complaint was pending, she retained an attorney to represent her in an unrelated action involving a property dispute. She claims the disciplinary committee instigated an investigation into that attorney—who is not named in her complaint—involving allegations of bribery and forgery.  
Corrado contends that after the attorney withdrew from her case and her claim was dismissed, all of the ethical charges against her lawyer were dropped. She claims that because of her attorney's abrupt withdrawal, her civil case was dismissed and she was "ultimately forced to settle her case for a fraction of its value."  Bennitta Joseph of Borrelli & Associates in Great Neck, who is representing Corrado in the civil rights claim, declined to identify the allegedly intimidated attorney who represented her client in Corrado v. East End Pool &  Hot Tub.  Corrado also claims in her complaint that she was retaliated against for supporting the claim of a colleague who accused the agency of racial discrimination.

The complaint does not identify that employee, but Joseph confirmed in an interview that it was Christine Anderson, a former staff attorney who alleged she was wrongfully discharged in June 2007 on a pretext of insubordination after she revealed that the panel was protecting well-connected attorneys. A jury rejected her claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the verdict (NYLJ, Oct. 30, 2009). Corrado contends that after she agreed to corroborate Anderson's allegations of "racial discrimination and other improper conduct" by the disciplinary committee, Alan Friedberg, the committee's chief counsel, threatened her and gave her an unreasonable workload. Additionally, Corrado says Bratton threatened her.  In light of Corrado's complaint, Anderson has asked the Second Circuit to reinstate her claim. Anderson contends in her petition that Corrado, who testified on her behalf at a deposition but not at trial, "was threatened and chilled into not testifying" at her trial, constituting a "manifest attack on our system of law and a clear denial of appellant's right to a fair trial." 
Corrado claims that because of the anxiety and stress from the harassment she endured at the disciplinary committee she took a two-year unpaid leave of absence between 2009 and 2011, returning only after Bratton, Raniere and Friedberg had left. According to the Office of Court Administration, all three took advantage of an early retirement incentive in the fall of 2010.  "She feels like she has to do something," Joseph said. "She took a two-year leave of absence because the environment had become so toxic, and then once all the offending parties left, she came back."  Raniere said the allegations are false. "I didn't do a damned thing," he said.  Friedberg declined to comment. Bratton could not be reached.  David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, declined to respond, noting that the court system does not comment on pending litigation.  John Caher can be contacted at jcaher@alm.com.


Another DDC victim said...
Earth to 1st Department Presiding Judge Gonzalez- you must take decisive action regarding the failings of the DDC. Continuing the cover-up of crimes and not CORRECTING the misdeeds is UNACCEPTABLE. Yes, things are much better under Jorge Depico.... but they really couldn't have gotten worse under Cahill, Friedberg and Sherry Cohen. But JUSTICE DEMANDS CORRECTION, Judge Gonzalez, and you know it. If you can't do it, please resign as PJ.
Anonymous said...
A federal lawsuit in the Second Circuit's courts requires belief in the tooth fairy or the proper connections and payments. Contact Chuck Schumer for advice.
Anonymous said...
Oh yes, I know first-hand of the rampant corruption at the DDC...tampering with evidence, whitewashing complaints, letting sexual offenders get off with a slap on the wrist, as long as they're "POLITICALLY CONNECTED" they get a free pass..UGH,why aren't the FEDS doing something about these criminals PLEAZZZEEEEE!!!!
Anonymous said...
Tampering with evidence is a CRIME, allowing Lawyers to get away with sexual abuse, is a CRIME, allowing complaints against Prosecutors, without investigating, is a CRIME, harrassing witnesses is a CRIME, taking money to protect "POLITICALLY CONNECTED" attorneys, is a CRIME, whitewashing complaints against attorneys, is a CRIME!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous said...
Tampering with evidence is a CRIME, allowing Lawyers to get away with sex abuse, is a CRIME, allowing complaints against Prosecutors, without investigating, is a CRIME, harrassing witnesses is a CRIME, taking money to protect "POLITICALLY CONNECTED" attorneys, is a CRIME, whitewashing complaints against attorneys, is a CRIME!!!!!!!!!!
Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...
haven't we all seen this movie before (Anderson v. State of NY)... 

we've gotta do more than just express our disgust and opinions...

i know that there are many who are reading this blog that still have legitimate causes of action that have, in one way or another, been affected by the actions, or by similar actions that are at the heart of this Complaint...

you must assess your own matter and find an effective means of bringing it to the attention of the highest judicial or legislative body available... and within your filings, give ample mention of this current action... and others that show how the Constitution of the US and of the State are being routinely disregarded and violated by those in positions of apparent authority...

you must stand up and fight... whatever you stand to lose pales in comparison of what you will surely lose if you remain silent...

this action needs your support...

--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America
hey mo said...
Where are the 3 stooges (Cahill, Friedberg and Cohen) now?
Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...
just tweeted this... recommended it on Google... 

and in response to tweet from #SecClinton dialog with CivilSociety, i replied with this... .@StateDept "Rule of Law".. i keep hearing this phrase.. #SecClinton PLEASE, HELP US HERE IN NY http://blackwallofsilencepart1.blogspot.com/ exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com

get on twitter now and let em hear from you...

--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America
Anonymous said...
The DDC 'watch dogs' have been acting like dirty dogs, not overseers of 'ethics'
insider said...

Anonymous said...
SHUT DOWN the DDC's..clean house..gather up the paddy wagon's ..load up the truck ..next stop.. JAIL!
Anonymous said...
I heard that after Alan Friedberg was forced out of the DDC because he was corrupt, his buddy Tembeckjian hired him at the CJC. Pretty funny, you can't make this stuff up. So now the wimp Friedberg is checking on the ethics of the judges at the Commission on Judicial Conduct. This is all so crazy.
hear one, hear all..... said...
So Andral got pulled out of the DDC and they (the other OCA sexual deviants) hid him at the 1st Dept courthouse. That's how your court system handles sexual abuse in the workplace, my peoples.
Related Case said...
Cahill took my documented complaint home to burn in his fireplace. It kept him warm and everything disappeared (there is No Record) and his friends who he protected made sure he had a good Christmas.
Anonymous said...
WOW said...look at the case in the Matter of Steven S. Greenberg!"

In disciplinary proceedings involving sexual misconduct, two-year suspensions have been imposed where the attorneys had sexual relations with their clients. Shorter periods of suspension are appropriate where an attorney has made sexually oriented or offensive comments" (Matter of Isaac, 76 AD3d 48, 52 [2010] [internal citations omitted]). Thus, for example, in Matter of Weinstock (241 AD2d 1 [1998]), an attorney was suspended for two years for exposing his private parts to a family court client on two occasions and engaging in oral sex with the client on at least one of the occasions. In Matter of Isaac (76 AD3d 48, supra), an attorney who made unwanted sexual advances toward a client was suspended for six months, with the court taking into consideration his age and his long and unblemished record practicing law [FN2]
Anonymous said...
"In Matter of Isaac (76 AD3d 48, supra), an attorney who made unwanted sexual advances toward a client was suspended for six months, with the court taking into consideration his age and his long and unblemished record practicing law [FN2]"

Are you kidding me "sexual advances" more like "FELONY LEVEL SEXUAL ABUSE", extortion, coercion, unlawful imprisonment, obstruction of justice, etc. what the heck are these people smoking!!!!!!

"with the court taking into consideration his age and his long and unblemished record practicing law".

I hardly think he had an "unblemished record"..it's more like he had the "RIGHT CONNECTIONS" in the right places!!