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Letter: Judicial reform needed in NYS

Oheka Castle owner and political power broker Gary

Oheka Castle owner and political power broker Gary Melius was shot by an unknown assailant on Feb. 24. Melius, 70, was in his Mercedes-Benz at the castle's parking area in Huntington when he was ambushed and shot once in the forehead at about 12:30 p.m. Photos: Oheka shooting key players | Complete coverage of Melius shooting Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Newsday deserves kudos for "The Insiders" [News, Dec. 23], a series in part about the influence of superlawyer Steven Schlesinger. It's imperative to keep digging.

The Independence Party has taken on a life of its own without a philosophy or purpose. Under New York's election process, new voters who consider themselves political independents have mistakenly enrolled in this party.

This has allowed a cadre of political hacks and self-interested individuals, such as Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius, to build themselves up as power brokers for a party that stands for nothing. They have been so successful that several Independence Party members now hold office, even as judges on Long Island!

Newsday should also more closely cover the judiciary. Schlesinger's wife was defeated as a Democratic and Independence party candidate for Nassau County Court judge. How did she, a law clerk, receive her nomination? What were the mechanics surrounding the cross-endorsements of various Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence candidates for the judiciary at all levels?

Newsday should use its editorial page to advocate for the end of judicial elections and their replacement by merit selection by nonpartisan committees.

David Zielenziger, Great Neck