Stop-And-Frisk Decision Put On Hold Pending Appeal, Trial Judge Removed

An “appearance of impropriety,” was created by Judge Shira Scheindlin because of “a series of media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court,” the 2nd Circuit federal appeals court held. An appeal schedule is set for early 2014.

Executive Director Vincent Warren (left) of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the center’s Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney, address a news conference, in New York, Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the New York Police Department deliberately violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers with its contentious stop-and-frisk policy, and an independent monitor is needed to oversee major changes. Richard Drew / AP

A federal appeals court on Thursday put the trial court decision striking down New York City’s implementation of its stop-and-frisk policy as unconstitutional on hold while it considers the city’s appeal of that decision.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals also removed the trial court judge from the case, “conclud[ing] that the District Judge ran afoul of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges,” and ordering that a new judge be assigned to the case.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, the appeals court held, violated the rule mandating that “[a] judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.” The “appearance of impropriety,” the court held was created, in part, because of “a series of media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court.”

The city’s appeal, however, is not due to the court until Jan. 24, 2014, at which point a new mayor will have taken the place of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bill de Blasio has criticized the city’s enforcement of the policy.

The plaintiffs challenging the policy have their response due by Feb. 28, 2014, according to Thursday’s order, with the city’s reply due by March 14, 2014 and oral argument heard after that.

Read the appeals court’s order:

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Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.
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