The appeals court ruling that threw Judge Shira Scheindlin off the stop-and-frisk case relied on a multifaceted set of rules called the Code of Conduct for United State Judges. According to the ruling, Scheindlin “ran afoul” of these laws when she gave interviews to the press and went too far in directing NYPD-related cases to her courtroom.
Specifically, Scheindlin allegedly violated Canon 2 of the code (which reads in part: “A judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary”) and Canon 3 which requires a judge to bow out of a case n which his or her impartiality might be questioned.
Click here to read the code.
At least two of the media interviews the judge gave
came after the papers got hold of a dossier the Bloomberg administration had prepared that accused the judge of systematic bias against the police, which had the effect of casting doubt upon her ruling even before it was made.
The judges’ ruling yesterday said a third article, in the New York Law Journal, appeared on May 5, before the leak about the dossier. But the NY Law Journal website indicates the article ran on May 20.
According to the appeals court ruling, Scheindlin went too far in corralling stop-and-frisk litigation when, in December 2007 hearing, she told people suing the NYPD: “If you got proof of inappropriate racial profiling in a good constitutional case, why don’t you bring a lawsuit? You can certainly mark it as related.”
She also said, “[W]hat I am trying to say, I am sure I am going to get in trouble for saying it, for $65 you can bring that lawsuit,” and added, “And as I said before, I would accept it as a related case, which the plaintiff has the power to designate.”