Articles Posted in New York Court of Appeals

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Complainant, a sitting Rochester City Court Judge, accused Defendant of sending her three offensive text messages. Defendant was charged with two misdemeanor counts of aggravated harassment in the second degree. A visiting judge from a neighboring county was assigned to preside over pretrial hearings. Despite repeated plea negotiations, the District Attorney's office did not offer Defendant a reduced charge or agree to a plea that included a favorable sentence. Defendant filed a motion and a renewed motion to disqualify the District Attorney due to the existence of a conflict of interest and requested that a special prosecutor be appointed. The District failed to rebut the allegations of disparate treatment with a single example of a comparable case it had similarly refused to resolve with a plea that included a favorable sentence. Both motions and requests were denied. Defendant was subsequently convicted of one count of aggravated harassment in the second degree. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that because the District Attorney's office failed to take steps to dispel the appearance of inappropriate disparate treatment in this case, this was one of those rare cases in which a significant appearance of impropriety was created, requiring disqualification. View "People v. Adams" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether the City of New York's 2010 plan for indigent defense, permitting representation by both institutional providers and private attorneys in cases in which a conflict of interest precludes representation by the initial provider, constitutes a valid combination plan within the meaning of County Law 722. Petitioners, various county bar associations, challenged the proposed plan and its implementing regulations as violative of N.Y. County Law 722 and N.Y. Mun. Home Rule Law 11(1)(e). The Court of Appeals concluded that the City may assign conflict cases to institutional providers, that its ability to do so is not contingent on the consent of the county bar associations, and that the City's proposed indigent defense plan did not run afoul of the County Law or Municipal Home Rule Law. View "Matter of N.Y. County Lawyers' Ass'n v. Bloomberg" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a justice of the town court, commenced a proceeding to review a determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that sustained six charges of misconduct against him and determined that he should be removed from office. The charges stemmed from numerous cases Petitioner presided over involving his paramour's relatives in which Petitioner failed to disqualify himself, failed to disclose the relationship, and engaged in ex parte communications. Upon reviewing the record, the Court of Appeals concluded that removal was the appropriate sanction and accepted the determined sanction, as Petitioner's conduct demonstrated a misuse of his judicial office and damaged public confidence in his integrity and impartiality. View "In re Young" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was convicted of attempted rape in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, and endangering the welfare of a child. At issue was whether plaintiff, suing his former criminal defense attorney in legal malpractice, could recover nonpecuniary damages. Plaintiff claimed several errors, including that his attorney failed to investigate or present evidence concerning an allegedly meritorious defense, failed to interview certain potential witnesses, and failed to cross-examine the victim regarding discrepancies in her testimony. The court found that such damages were not available in an action for attorney malpractice. Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division should be reversed. View "Dombrowski v Bulson" on Justia Law

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In a memorandum opinion, the court addressed whether defense counsel gave implied consent to a mistrial. The court held that there was ample basis on the record for the trial court to conclude that defendants agreed that a mistrial on the undecided charges was the appropriate course of action. The court also held that, because it found no basis to disturb the Appellate Division's factual finding of implied consent, it had no occasion to address the People's alternative argument that there was manifest necessity for the mistrial.