Appeals Court Refuses To Overturn Ruling That Ends Stop And Frisk In NYC [Updated]
from the court-stops-motion,-misses-opportunity-to-thoroughly-Fisk-it dept
[Update: New York defense attorney Scott Greenfield sends over some input on this latest twist in the stop and frisk saga. The situation isn’t quite as simple as my post made it appear. While time is running out for the city of New York to battle this ruling before de Blasio steps in, it still has options available that could make this a much tougher battle for opponents of the program.
The motion panel denied summary reversal, but that has zero to do with the appeal. It was just an interim ploy. Whether de Blasio will continue the appeal, drop it or settle the case has yet to be seen. It’s awkward for de Blasio, as even if he agrees that the Bloomberg policy is dead wrong, he won’t want to give up control to an outside monitor.
But by no means is this a done deal on any end. The only thing denied was summary reversal; everything else remains on the table, so to suggest it’s all over is not at all correct. There remains a whole lot left in issue and bad things can still happen. Very bad things.
One of those bad things is this:
There is still plenty of time for the city to get its brief in under Cardozo/Bloomberg arguing for reversal. This will really put the screws to de Blasio, who would not only have to withdraw the appeal, but do so after the city has submitted and the brief is out there for the world to see.
So, this has only deflected one of the many legal arrows Bloomberg’s counsel can fire off before he exits office. Bloomberg has defended stop-and-frisk bitterly and obstinately over the years, so there’s no reason to believe more last-ditch efforts aren’t being made.]
It looks as though time may run out on Mayor Bloomberg and his fight against Judge Scheindlin’s stop and frisk decision. Even though the Second Circuit Court (questionably) removed Scheindlin from the case for “appearances of bias and impropriety,” it has not allowed New York City to use that as leverage to have her ruling tossed.
A federal appeals panel on Friday denied a request by lawyers for New York that it overturn a judge’s sweeping ruling on the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices, all but ending the Bloomberg administration’s ability to legally challenge the ruling.
For the time being, Scheindlin’s court-ordered remedies (body cameras, installation of independent oversight) are still on hold while the court waits to hear the city’s appeal. The city still has the option to re-file this motion once the appeals process has run its course, but by that time, Bill de Blasio will be the new mayor and he has previously stated his opposition to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program.
Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, said the mayor-elect had “been clear: We must move forward on making fundamental reforms to stop-and-frisk. By ending the overuse of this practice, we will make New York safer and begin to repair the relationships between community and police.”
Mayor Bloomberg’s intense defense of the questionable program may turn out to be wasted energy. De Blasio could very well decide Scheindlin’s ruling is correct and drop the city’s appeals.
The vast amount of evidence, much of it collected by the NYPD itself, shows the program resulted in hundreds of thousands of stops of minorities over the last decade, but not much in the way of crime fighting. Despite the constant arguments that it’s responsible for the city’s declining crime rates, the stop-and-frisk program resulted in very few convictions or confiscated weapons. (This visualization shows just how inefficient the program is at finding guns.)
Considering these two factors, the program looks very much like a form of intimidation — something that may lead to reduced crime, but that’s hardly a solid indicator (or a justification) of its supposed usefulness towards that stated end. All sorts of efforts may lead to reduced crime (warrantless searches, a camera in every house) but the ends don’t justify the unconstitutional means, something Bloomberg and police chief Ray Kelly could never seem to wrap their heads around.