(CN) – Transferring the last of her stop-and-frisk cases to a colleague’s docket Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin capped off her work on the case with a slap at the appellate panel that recused her.
Scheindlin spent five of her 21 years on the federal bench presiding over three cases on unconstitutional police stops.
The most significant of the three, Floyd v. City of New York, ended in her landmark order forcing the New York City Police Department to submit to wide-ranging reforms, including the use of body cameras and submission to a court-appointed monitor.
With then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg using Scheindlin’s neutrality to fight the reforms tooth and nail, the 2nd Circuit upheld the substance of the judge’s rulings but put the reforms on ice and recused Scheindlin for creating the appearance of bias by speaking to the press.
Scheindlin has defended her media interactions as a necessary response to the Bloomberg administration’s whisper campaigns accusing her of hostility toward the police.
Since that time, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres has taken over the handling of the Floyd case along with Ligon v. City of New York, a case challenging the use of “vertical patrols” in private housing.
New York City has grown more cordial to stop-and-frisk reform under the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dropped the city’s appeal in one of his first acts of office.
City Hall’s implementation of the so-called “Joint Remedial Process” is now believed to be imminent.
To ease this process, Scheindlin sent the last stop-and-frisk case on her docket, Davis v. City of New York, to Torres with a benchslap to the appellate panel that recused her.
“I am transferring the Davis case with regret as it would have been most appropriate for the judge that supervised this case – and the related cases – for more than five years to supervise the implementation of the remedies imposed by the court or agreed to by the parties,” she wrote. “Nonetheless, I do so because it is most important that the parties work together in one joint remedial process to repair the damage that was done during the years that the defendants in these cases violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The joint remedial process is underway and like all New Yorkers I have the highest hopes for its success.”
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