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Second Court Stays Judge Scheindlin's Decision in Floyd Case

Posted By On Behalf of Sullivan Brill || 4-Nov-2013

The 2nd federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just blocked Judge Shira A. Scheindlin's order to restrict New York's so-called "Stop and Frisk" policy, essentially keeping the controversial policy in place for the time being.

The court said the judge's decisions would be stayed pending the outcome of an appeal by New York City, according to The Associated Press (AP). Stop and Frisk enables police "officers to search just about anyone they see as suspicious," "CBS Evening News" reported.

Attorneys for the city sought a stay; however, going beyond the request of a stay on the ruling, the appeals court also removed the judge from the stop and frisk lawsuit known as the Floyd case, according to The New York Times. The panel cited, "an appearance of partiality surrounding this litigation," The AP reported, and accused Judge Scheindlin of attempting to have the case heard in her courtroom when it had originally been filed, five years ago. A decision has not yet been made concerning the judge's conclusion in the matter.

This summer, the judge ruled that New York City was in violation of the Constitution over the way in which it handled its program of stopping and questioning people. The City appealed the judge's findings. The appeals court found the judge did not appropriately follow the U.S. judges' code of conduct. Judge Scheindlin ruled that police officers violated the civil rights of thousands by incorrectly targeting African American and Latino men and ordered an external monitor and other measures, according to the AP. The Court of Appeals ruled that the judge "ran afoul" of the judiciary's code of conduct by compromising the "appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation," when she granted media interviews and made public statements when the case was pending before her, the Times explained.

"Some of the reporters used quotes from written opinions in Floyd that gave the appearance that I had commented on the case.... However, a careful reading of each interview will reveal that no such comments were made," Judge Scheindlin said in a statement.

A civil rights attorney who brought the Floyd case said the Second Court's criticism of the judge was misplaced, according to the Times.