Queens Judge and DA Joust over Courthouse Questioning

Claiming Acting Justice Joel L. Blumenfeld had deliberately deprived it of its right to appeal, the Queens District Attorney’s Office asked the state appeals court in Brooklyn on April 27 for an extraordinary writ of prohibition to bar the enforcement of the judge’s ruling finding unethical the DA’s courthouse questioning of nearly 10,000 suspects since 2007. The judge had stymied the office’s ability to pursue the normal appeal path by framing his order as an ethical violation rather than as the suppression of involuntarily statements, the prosecutors’ Article 78 petition charged.

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Six weeks later, Justice Blumenfeld filed his brief with Appellate Division, Second Department, countering the prosecution’s charge that he framed his April 17 ruling to prevent the DA’s office from taking an appeal. The judge bushed aside the claim as based upon the faulty legal premise that his power to preclude evidence is limited to the suppression of involuntary statements. Instead, his brief stated,  his powers are far broader as it is “standard practice” for judges to withhold statements that are prejudicial, misleading or for reasons otherwise within the court’s inherent powers.

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Both articles were originally published in the New York Law Journal. The first article, reporting the Queens District Attorney’s filing of the Article 78 proceeding, was published on April 30, 2012. The second, covering the filing of Justice Blumenfeld’s brief, was published June 12, 2012.

 

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