Letters to the Editor

The Appellate Division, First Department, at 27 Madison Ave.

Conflicting Panel Rulings Demand En Banc Review

I was surprised to learn from the Law Journal's appellate practice column that the Appellate Division, First Department, reached completely different legal conclusions in two cases containing virtually identical factual and legal issues.

Tesla showroom in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Tesla Shouldn't Need Lobbyists, Lawmakers to Expand Business

By Alan J. Harris |

I was shocked and dismayed to read your article entitled "Tesla's Plan to Expand Sales May Face Resistance From Lobbyists." Something's terribly wrong here. Why is the government's permission required to expand one's legitimate (if not praiseworthy) business venture?

Judges of the New York Court of Appeals listen to arguments in White Plains in April, with the date each was confirmed by the Senate, from left: Judges Michael Garcia (Feb. 8, 2016), Leslie Stein (Feb. 9, 2015), Jenny Rivera (Feb. 11, 2013), Chief Judge Janet DiFiore (Jan. 21, 2016), Eugene Fahey (Feb. 9, 2015) and Rohan Wilson (Feb. 6, 2017).

Reflections on Courts of Newcomer Judges

By Joseph W. Bellacosa |

When I was appointed to the Court of Appeals, I was the seventh in a short period chosen by Gov. Mario Cuomo. Remarkably, that seven-member constituency of the court remained unchanged for almost six continuous years.

New York State Capitol in Albany

City Bar's Support of Constitutional Convention Is Flawed

By Jerry H. Goldfeder |

Although the New York City Bar Association concedes that the delegate selection process for a constitutional convention has "deficiencies," it pins its hopes on "[s]tatutory revisions to the delegate selection process [that] can be made [by Albany] this year [or next]." There is absolutely no basis for this hope.

Article Misconstrued the 'Gig Economy'

The use of a single example to support the argument that the gig economy is bad for workers absent new or expanded statutory protections overlooks the fundamental fact that it is the workers themselves driving this new business model.

The Responsibility of Assisting Prisoners

By Adrian L. De Gennaro |

Attorneys do more than just ennoble incarcerated people when they read their letters and take seriously their complaints, such as horrific allegations of abuse or interference with medical care. By investigating and responding, counsel can shine a light on the darkness of the country's prison and jail systems—a darkness which is regularly ignored.

Free College Program Has Financial Flaw

By Yoni Levoritz |

New York's Excelsior Scholarship program has opened the door to a "free college education" to families in need. However, the law does not define the term 'family,' instead relying upon the definition in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, which would appear to allow applicants to game the system where divorced parents have a considerable income disparity.

Ruling Conflicts With New York Law

Jeffrey A. Jannuzzo writes: Your article, "Criminal Conviction Needed for Attorney Misconduct Finding," quoted a law professor to the effect that the Western District magistrate judge's recommendation "may be right." In fact, the magistrate's decision is directly contrary to New York law.

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Judge Embodied Spirit of Law Day

By A. Gail Prudenti |

Law Day (May 1) has a special significance for me because it celebrates the rule of law of and the triumph of right over might. This year, however, the festivity is a bit dimmed by the loss of a cherished friend who I viewed as the very embodiment of all that we celebrate on Law Day: Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam.

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Judge's Death a Loss to Co-op/Condo Bar

I appreciated the article concerning Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam's impact on the commercial bar. I think in some ways this was even a greater loss to the relatively small cooperative and condominium bar.

Ruling Should Prompt Appellate Update

One hoped-for effect of the Court of Appeals' approval of visual aids is that it might inspire the appellate division to re-examine the blanket prohibition against images in briefs.

Court of Appeals Building, Albany, NY.

Juries Need Guidance on Cross-Racial IDs

By Karen Newirth |

The former prosecutors and judges profiled in your article are not alone in seeking to appear as amici in 'People v. Boone' to urge the use of a jury instruction on the increased risk of misidentification in all cases involving cross-race identifications. A range of diverse and well-respected organizations seek to file briefs, which speaks to the magnitude of the risk, the general consensus about the "cross-race effect" in the relevant scientific research and the view that a mandatory instruction can mitigate the risk.

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Arbitration at a 'Serious Crossroad'

By Richard Berman |

Judge Richard Berman writes: American arbitration is at a serious crossroad. Its many positive attributes (and many outstanding arbitrators) are rightfully being re-evaluated against some significant shortcomings, which may include collective action bans, secrecy, incorrect legal analyses, conflicts of interest, and perfunctory judicial review.

Michael Juviler

Judge Michael Juviler: One of the Very Best

By George Marlow |

In 1967, as a rookie lawyer in the Queens DA's office, I argued my first case in the Court of Appeals. As I waited for my case to be called, I witnessed Michael Juviler, a 32-year-young chief of the Manhattan DA's appeals bureau, argue a high-profile case. His presentation was brilliant, just like his performance in every significant position he held thereafter; including his roles as a dad, a grandpa and as a husband to his beloved Barbara.

Michael Juviler

A Judge's Judge and a Good Deal More

By Albert Rosenblatt |

When describing an uncommonly talented jurist to whom other judges looked up, we might refer to "a judges' judge", and Judge Michael Juviler was surely that. But he was a good deal more.

Parties Deserve to See Forensic Evaluations

The Children's Law Center shares Timothy M. Tippins' belief in his recent column that the current restrictions preventing distribution of forensic evaluations to litigants in custody and visitation cases should be reformed. However, we believe that parties should be guaranteed access to, rather than possession of, these reports.

Article Misconstrues Hiring 'Hazards'

The article "Employee Background Checks: The New Compliance Arena" promotes a number of misconceptions concerning individuals with conviction histories in the workplace, and insults them and their advocates in the process.

NYC Compliance Also Includes Credit Act

A recent column focused on criminal background checks while discussing employer obligations under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the 2015 New York City statute, the Fair Chance Act. It is worth noting that employers in the five boroughs also have important obligations under another city law that was enacted around the same time as the Fair Chance Act, the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act.

Robert Capers

Capers Was Apolitical as Top Prosecutor

While there has been much attention, consternation, and discussion regarding the fate of Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the firing of the remaining U.S. Attorneys from the previous administration, some thought and praise should be given to those now ex-U.S. Attorneys whose appointment had nothing to do with politics.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown

Conviction Review Units Help Justice

The recent letter by Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown overlooks many important reasons for establishing independent conviction review units. Mr. Brown's thesis, that every prosecutor has duty to try to avoid wrongful convictions, should be self-evident but it is beside the point. Specialized and independent review of suspected wrongful convictions is preferable to the ad-lib approach Mr. Brown embraces.

Lynne Stewart

Fighting for Justice Will Honor Stewart

Robert J. Boyle writes: What many do not know is that Lynne was a "full service" lawyer. If you were her client, she not only fought brilliantly in court, she felt it was her responsibility to take care of her clients' needs: clothes, making sure the clients had commissary money, facilitating visits with family.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown

Conviction Review Is For All Prosecutors

In a letter to the editor, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown writes: I believe that it is the responsibility of everyone in my office to prevent wrongful convictions and that should a claim be raised that someone has been wrongfully convicted or is being wrongfully prosecuted to promptly and thoroughly investigate that claim to ensure that justice is done.

The White House

Remark on Judiciary Has Familiar Tone

Inasmuch as history is a powerful teacher and in light of the recently-twittered tensions concerning the operation of the judicial branch of government, it might be well to consider Andrew Jackson's reputed comment about the "so-called" co-equal branch, rendered after an important early case and crisis in 1832.