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Albany judge strikes down prosecutorial watchdog commission

Jan 29, 2020 12:45 pm
Dan Clark is reporting for Capitol Confidential the state law that required the convening of a special panel to evaluate complaints of misconduct made against prosecutors was struck down by a state judge in Albany, January 28. Acting Supreme Court Justice David Weinstein found the measure to be unconstitutional. The law would have allowed for the creation of the Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, to review complaints of misconduct against prosecutors and either sanctioned them or recommended their removal. The District Attorneys Association of the State of New York and Albany County District Attorney David Soares sued over the law, which resulted in Weinstein's decision. The legislation would have allowed a prosecutor to appeal a decision from the commission to the state's appellate courts, thereby causing a new, unprecedented panel of jurists to be formed to review the appeal. DAASNY argued the Legislature did not have the authority to assign that task to the presiding justices of the Appellate Division. Weinstein agreed. “There is nothing in the [state] Constitution which would allow the Legislature to cobble together particular judges from each Appellate Division and vest this new body with jurisdiction nowhere provided for in the Constitution itself,” he wrote. If the Legislature wants to move forward with creating the commission, it can either appeal the ruling to the Appellate Division or amend the law to address Weinstein's ruling. Read the full story at Capitol Confidential, a Times Union blog.
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