Good news: It’s almost the weekend!
While you’re still stuck at your desk, however, why not catch up on this week’s New York City courts and crime news?
The Allegedly List is packed with twists and turns: Ghislaine Maxwell’s deposition finally dropped, and former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort caught a legal break. For The Allegedly Original, Catherina Gioino put together a brief guide to help you navigate New York City’s judicial ballot.
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The Allegedly List
Ghislaine Maxwell’s April 2016 deposition was finally unsealed Thursday morning, revealing details about her relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell tried to downplay Epstein and former President Bill Clinton’s relationship. The deposition also suggested there was speculation that Epstein might have been involved in government work. Via The Guardian
A New York state appeals court agreed with Paul Manafort’s argument that the Manhattan District Attorney’s financial fraud case wasn’t viable under state double-jeopardy laws, per a Thursday ruling. Justice Maxwell Wiley threw out the Manhattan D.A.’s case against Manafort last December, saying that he had already faced trial for these crimes in a federal court. Manafort is serving a 7 ½ year prison sentence for the federal rap. Via New York Daily News
The home of lawyer Randy Mastro—who has repped residents in their fight to shutter an Upper West Side hotel where homeless men reside—was vandalized with spray paint. Tags such as “Randy Mastro you can’t displace us” and “F–k you Randy” were painted on the front of his Upper East Side home. Mastro was not home when the vandalism happen, but a neighbor told him about the incident. Via New York Post.
Jan Ransom wrote about a new report describing racial bias in New York’s state court system, which contained numerous disturbing details—such as a white court officer referencing a Black court officer as “one of the good monkeys.” “The sad picture that emerges is, in effect, a second-class system of justice for people of color in New York State,” the report’s author wrote. Lawrence K. Marks, chief administrative judge, said: “The findings are troubling, but not surprising.” Via The New York Times
A Manhattan judge reversed the suspension of three New York University students who were suspended after photos emerged showing them partying off-campus, without masks, before the fall semester began. Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead ruled Wednesday that NYU’s punishment was “arbitrary, capricious and constitute[d] an abuse of discretion.” Enmead said that although NYU sent out emails during the summer about coronavirus safety regulations, the messages didn’t make clear that these policies would be enforced before the semester. Via New York Post
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Paul Engelmayer decided Tuesday that approximately 99.6 percent of New York City’s crosswalks aren’t accessible to blind pedestrians. Engelmayer’s ruling stemmed from The American Council of the Blind of New York’s June 2018 lawsuit against the city and municipal officials. A city spokeswoman said that officials are “dedicated to making our streets more accessible” and will “continue to install Accessible Pedestrian Signals.” Via New York Post
A government lawyer repping Donald Trump in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case against the President was denied entry to court for a key proceeding Wednesday—because he had just arrived from a COVID-19 hotspot and had to quarantine. Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis Kaplan said that government attorneys could just use their prior written motions. The hearing was on whether the U.S. Department of Justice should be permitted to rep Trump in Carroll’s suit. Via Courthouse News Service
Tekashi 6ix9ine was sued Tuesday by the minor who is shown engaging in sex acts with adults in videos he put on social media. She was only 13-years-old during this incident, and claims in her Manhattan Supreme Court suit that “at least” three videos were made. The rapper’s lawyer said they will “vigorously defend” against this suit. Via Vulture
Remember New York state Supreme Court judge Mark Grisanti, who was shown in bodycam footage pushing a cop in Buffalo, while shirtless and allegedly drunk? Per Frank Runyeon, the FBI investigated why he wasn’t charged in this incident, which stemmed from an altercation with neighbors. While the Department of Justice closed the investigation without bringing charges, governor Andrew Cuomo “has discretion” whether the state Attorney General probes why he wasn’t collared. Via Law360
The Allegedly Original
So, What’s Up With New York City’s Judicial Ballot?
By Catherina Gioino
You probably already know who's getting your vote for the White House come election day, but you may be undecided about the numerous aspiring judges vying for the chance to rule on some of the city’s most important cases. Or, in the case of judges up for reelection, the opportunity to keep making decisions on these cases.
Here’s why your [informed] vote matters: Judges elected to the Civil Court serve ten-year terms and hear cases from civil, criminal and family court.
The public also elects justices to various state Supreme Courts, who serve 14-year terms and preside over cases involving $25,000 or more, felony criminal proceedings, as well as matrimonial cases.
That’s some pretty hefty power for people you might not know.
There’s a reason judge races are pretty low on even the biggest politico’s radar: There’s barely any competition. Outside of a few races this year, there are usually as many seats as there are candidates. More so, the public doesn’t really get to choose some of the most visible judges. The governor picks judges for the appeals courts, and the mayor picks most criminal and family court judges, according to City Limits.
This year’s candidates include current judges, acting justices, justices, private-practice attorneys, Legal Aid lawyers, and activists.