Open the secret process of judicial conduct hearings

Open the secret process of judicial conduct hearings

The Legislature is furious with the state courts (especially the Court of Appeals) for overturning their unconstitutional and illegal fines last year, and they are furious that they are being blamed by Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams (and the voters). Bail reform as fear of crime rises. So they wrongly pinned it on Acting Chief Administrative Judge Tamiko Amaker at a budget hearing last week.

They need Amaker, who is in charge of administration, not of jurisprudence, but of better training judges on the confusing bail laws they write. How about writing some meaningful laws instead?

On the Senate side, anger also goes to Hochul’s well-qualified nominee for chief justice, Hector LaSalle, where the chamber is again violating the state constitution and state law by denying him a floor vote.

But the judge they are most angry about is the former chief justice, Janet DeFiore, who wrote the gerrymander decision. He retired after completing an investigation under the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. And here the legislators have a good point that judges should not be able to stop a legitimate investigation by resigning.

So we fully support The new bill was just introduced by Sen. Brad Hoelman-Siegal, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, ended the fiasco that DeFiore had. That he has Mike Gianaris, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, as a co-sponsor makes sense. Conduct panels are required by law to make their complaints public if they make a formal complaint against a judge. The agency apparently filed such a complaint against DeFiore while he was chief justice, but it remains confidential under the law.

Former Chief Justice Judith Kaye pushed for a similar measure 20 years ago, but the judges’ union gave the Legislature muscle. We heard that a hack Brooklyn judge by the name of Abe Gerges begged Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver to put it on the shelf, a future federal criminal who would die in prison like Boss Tweed.

This year we hope lawmakers stay angry with the judges and finally pass the bill.

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