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Media Alerts - Ligon, et al. v. City of New York -- Second Circuit
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October 31, 2013
  Ligon, et al. v. City of New York -- Second Circuit
Headline: Second Circuit Disqualifies District Judge in "Stop & Frisk" Racial Profiling Cases Against NYPD, and Stays Her Preliminary Injunction and Remedial Order

Area of Law: Criminal Procedure

Issue(s) Presented: Whether the district judge in the New York City "stop & frisk" racial profiling cases violated the Judicial Code of Conduct by (1) indicating that a case should be marked as 'related' to an existing case in order to be brought before her and (2) participating in a series of interviews and public statements regarding the case.

Brief Summary: The City of New York is defending two suits brought by plaintiffs Ligon and Floyd challenging the constitutionality of the New York Police Department's (NYPD) "stop and frisk" policy. Prior to today, the cases were tried before a district judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Shira Scheindlin, who accepted them under S.D.N.Y. Local Rule 13(a) as "related cases" to one of her existing cases. Judge Scheindlin issued various opinions holding that the NYPD's stop and frisk approach was unconstitutional, and ordered significant remedies. The City appealed to the Second Circuit. Today, the Second Circuit - while not expressing a view on the substance or merits of the appeals, which have not yet been argued - issued a very brief order that stayed Judge Scheindlin's opinions in the decisions in the case, such that they will not take effect unless affirmed by the Second Circuit. Additionally, the Second Circuit held that upon remand, these cases shall be assigned to a different district judge chosen randomly. The court found that Judge Scheindlin had misapplied the Local Rule in telling attorneys representing the plaintiffs that she would accept these cases as "related cases" to a case already in her courtroom, and that her commentary jeopardized the appearance of impartiality required by Canons 2 and 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The court also found that she violated the same Canons through participation in media interviews and public statements "purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court."

Panel: Circuit Judges John M. Walker, Jr., Jose A. Cabranes, Barrington D. Parker.

Date of Issued Opinion: 10/31/13

Docket Number: No. 13-3123; 13-3088

Decided: Remanded to district court for implementation of order; mandate otherwise remains with Second Circuit.

Case Alert Author: Laura Young

Circuit: Second Circuit

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor:
Professor Emily Gold Waldman

    Posted By: Emily Waldman @ 10/31/2013 07:40 PM     2nd Circuit  

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