April 25, 2001
A Simple Solution Called
following article was sent to J.A.I.L. by Ron Loeber, Lt.JIC, New York J.A.I.L.
last January, it is still as true today as it was when written. Sorry for the
delay, however we are under an avalanche of emails and it's only getting worse
as J.A.I.L. continues to grow by geometric proportions. We don't complain about
the growth, only about our inability to keep up with it.
We're doing our best. Thanks
for your patience Ron.
Isn't all of this just
more reason for a simple solution called J.A.I.L.?
censure of Judge Recant
Below is the NY Law Journal
report, sent to us by one of our JAILers, of the censure of a Manhattan Criminal
Court Judge. Read it carefully. What do you think would happen to
you or me if, in our dealings with persons appearing as government, we conducted
ourselves in a manner that was "coercive" and against the law?
When is the last time you coerced a judge or a cop... or your
Below the NY Law Journal report
is the direct link to the website of the Commission on Judicial Conduct's actual
censure of Judge Recant. Please take the time to open the link and read
carefully what it says. When you do, please
take particular notice of the paragraph which says, "...the
Administrator of the Commission, respondent and respondent's counsel entered
into an Agreed Statement of Facts... stipulating that the
Commission make its determination based upon the agreed facts, jointly
that respondent be censured and waiving further submissions and oral
argument". [Emphasis added]
Look up "stipulation" in a law
dictionary. Then look up "agreement" and other related "legal
words". Then think about it. Didn't the accused (the judge) and our
supposed watchdog (the Commission) admit to us that they entered into a contract
for their own mutual benefit? Isn't that what they are telling us with
their fine fancy words and the use of sophistry? What about all the facts
upon which there was no agreement? Why didn't they try those facts?
Didn't the accused, by contract, fix her own punishment? Or do we
misunderstand and this is simply a case where not only do judges, and those
protecting them, enjoy the Divine Right of Kings... but also have the Divine
insight and wisdom of a Deity?
If the Commission on Judicial Conduct
only disciplines a judge for those facts upon which the judge agrees in a
Complaint made by a citizen and does not pursue the facts upon which the judge
and citizen disagree, then why does a judge agree to anything? Does any of
this make sense? Anyone got any ideas?
Well... the answer is real
cute. We're not sure what the name of the game they are playing is called,
but we have discovered some of the rules. Believe it or not, if a judge
agrees with a factual allegation in a complaint to the Commission on Judicial
Conduct but does not agree with the rest of factual allegations in the
complaint, the case is closed with a slap on the hand and there is no appeal...
BY ANYONE. Do you understand what we are saying folks? Do you
understand the implications?
Applying that same unique principal
to history, if Butch Cassedy and the Sundance Kid had merely admitted to the
fact that they were in a bank at the time it was robbed and the teller shot...
they would have been okay. Think what someone could do with that who was
absent integrity and honor. They wouldn't have to work for a living and
their enemies would be dead.
What do you think would have been the
outcome if the people adjudicating the Complaint and making the decision were
those who "...have attained to the age of thirty years, and have been nine
years a citizen... and have been an inhabitant... for two years immediately
prior to having his/her name drawn. Those not eligible... shall include elected
and appointed officials, members of the State Bar, judges (active or retired),
judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement personnel, without other exclusion
except previous adjudication of mental incapacity, imprisonment, or parole from
a conviction of a felonious crime against persons."
Isn't all of this just more reason for a
simple solution called J.A.I.L.?
New York JAIL4Judges
Judge Recant Censured for Abuse of
By Tom Perrotta ~ New York Law Journal ~ December 13,
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge
Donna G. Recant was censured Wednesday by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for
abuse of judicial power and attempting to coerce guilty pleas.
The commission said that in
numerous cases in 1998 and 1999, Judge Recant, 45, "violated well-established
ethical standards" and "acted in a manner that was coercive, discourteous and
contrary to law." The commission also found that the judge had a private
conversation with a prosecutor's supervisor and improperly dismissed attorneys
from her courtroom. Judge Recant's attorneys, Michael S. Ross, a private
practitioner, and Milton Mollen, of Herrick, Feinstein, said the judge would
accept the commission's ruling. The attorneys said the judge had no further
comment. The commission noted three instances in which Judge Recant tried to use
bail to coerce defendants to plead guilty to crimes.
In one case, she set bail at $500
although the prosecution had not requested it. When the defendant's attorney
objected and asked why the judge was setting bail, Judge Recant replied:
"Because the way I see it is because he won't plea. That's why."
On another occasion, the judge
called the supervisor of an assistant district attorney into her chambers and
explained in private that the attorney had erred in the way he tried to
introduce evidence into a case. The supervisor later asked the attorney how his
case was going and arranged for a more experienced attorney to review some rules
The supervisor did not tell the
attorney about her conversation with the judge, and the commission found that
the judge was not aware that the supervisor later approached the attorney. The
attorney was later allowed to introduce evidence of a defendant's prior
Two times the judge ordered an
attorney out of her courtroom, one time saying: "You're excused. Leave the
courtroom as soon as we are done with this. Don't come back." The attorney, a
member of the 18-B panel that represents indigent defendants, had declined a
plea offer made to her client
because she said she had not been given enough
time to consult with the client.
The commission illustrated Judge
Recant's mistreatment of those who appeared in her courtroom by recounting a
conversation she had with a defendant whose children were causing a disturbance.
After telling the defendant that her courtroom was not a place for children, the
judge told the defendant that she did not like the defendant's attitude, and
said, "I don't want to hear anything out of your mouth."
When the woman objected to the
judges language, the judge had her moved to the bench where prisoners were
seated until the woman's lawyer arrived. The woman was handcuffed while sitting
on the bench, but the commission said the judge did not witness the woman being
handcuffed because she had gone to call the woman's lawyer.
The judge was also cited for her
treatment of a defendant's mother, who was chewing gum in the courtroom. When
the judge told the woman to "stop with the gum," a defense attorney told the
judge that the woman did not speak English.
Judge Recant replied this was not
her "problem," and that if the woman wanted to come to an American courtroom,
she could learn to speak English or leave.
Judge Recant has had other altercations with defendants
and defense attorneys that were not raised by the commission in its opinion. In
April 1999, the judge sentenced a Legal Aid lawyer to 10 days in jail for
contempt of court, after the lawyer failed to apologize for a rude remark. The
lawyer was handcuffed to a bench for more than an hour and held in custody for
four hours until the judge's sentence was stayed (NYLJ, April 5,
About 75 Legal Aid lawyers
gathered in the judge's courtroom after the incident. A week later the Office of
Court Administration began to investigate threatening remarks made about the
judge by unidentified Legal Aid attorneys (NYLJ, April 12, 1999).
Judge Recant's term in the bench
expires in December 2005. Seven members of the commission concurred on the
censure ruling. One member did not participate and two others were not present
for the proceeding. The finding marks the second time this week that the
commission has reprimanded a judge. On Tuesday, the commission also recommended
censure of Westchester Supreme Court Justice John P. DiBlasi.
December 12, 2001