The Manhattan federal judge presiding over a two-month trial challenging the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program Wednesday blasted as "totally misleading" a report attributed to City Hall that attacked her judicial record as biased against law enforcement.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin's remarks followed a story in the New York Daily News that said Mayor Michael Bloomberg's staff had prepared a review of the judge's published rulings on motions to suppress evidence, provided to the News, that said that since becoming a judge in 1994 she ruled against law enforcement 60 percent of the time, higher than any other Manhattan federal judge.
But Scheindlin, in a statement to Newsday, said the review distorted her record because it ignored rulings from the bench that did not produce written opinions or appeals, and which always upheld law enforcement. She estimated that at a rate of 10 rulings per year, she ruled against law enforcement "less than five percent of the time, a far cry from the 60 percent suppression rate" reported in the News.
The leaked memo was also blasted by lawyers for the plaintiffs in the stop-and-frisk case as an "outrageous" attempt to bully and discredit the judge as the trial nears an end.
"This attack on a respected judge scrapes the bottom of the litigation barrel," said a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the legal advocacy organization that brought the case. "It reflects desperation in light of the accumulation of evidence pointing to their liability in this case and appears to be an unseemly attempt at judicial intimidation during trial."
A City Hall spokesman declined to comment on the report about Scheindlin's record, and a spokeswoman for the city's Law Department did not return a call seeking comment.
The plaintiffs in the stop-and-frisk case claim that the NYPD conducts street stops without the "reasonable suspicion" required by the Supreme Court and disproportionately targets minorities nearly 90 percent of the time. The NYPD says stops are a key crime control tool, and has objected to court intervention.
Closing arguments in the case, which Scheindlin is hearing without a jury, are expected next week. She has not said when she will rule.