Experts Say City Will Struggle to Prove Stop-and-Frisk Judge Is Biased

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NYPD (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

A federal judge ruled that parts of the city's stop-and-frisk policy are unconstitutional. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to appeal the decision, claiming the judge was biased against the NYPD. But legal experts say say that won't be easy to prove.

Bloomberg said Judge Shira Scheindlin ignored the real-world realities of crime with her decision and didn't give the city a fair trial. 

"The city would have to have some fairly clear evidence of bias against the police department, the city or both," said James Cohen, a professor of law at Fordham University. "Typically it's very hard to get a judge disqualified at the trial or district court level, and its even harder to get the judge disqualified based upon bias on appeal."

The chances of that happening, he said, are "very, very small," and if she is biased, "she is far too smart to let the record be infected by that," Cohen said. "This judge has a reputation for giving the parties before her a fair trial," he said.

If the city appeals the ruling, the case won't be heard until long after Bloomberg's third term expires.





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