The NYTimes article on pgs 2-4 below is a perfect example of why in my opinion Brooklyn, NY should be classified as yet another “judicial hellhole” in the U.S., as many other spots are already labeled or suspected. It is pathetic and scary when kids can be arrested totally without cause, as in this case. That both the district attorney’s office and the police aided and abetted this is horrendous. It should result in the removal of District Atty. Charles Hynes and any police involved. It surely supports why elsewhere I have long said that it is almost impossible to get justice in Brooklyn and why I have refrained from bringing anything to the DA’s office, and why I have been critical of the police there. Yet someone in a position of authority just said to me re the NYT article below, "Be careful what you say, Susan, or you'll be discounted for overreacting. DA Hynes and the police can't be judged too harshly because they acted unfairly to black kids, when they have handled many other cases well." I couldn't believe my ears!! Didn't Barack Obama get elected president on "Change we can believe in??" Below are just a few specifics about other abusive practices in Brooklyn AND beyond, no matter the topic or who is involved. [It was recently reported in Florida (#2 ranked judicial hellhole in U.S.) that due to legal abuse 1 in 3 small businesses have reduced profit and must raise prices and 1 in 10 often go out of business. Illinois notes "we import lawsuits and export jobs." Few people are aware that a Presidential Task Force a few yrs ago found that abusers are twice as likely to seek custody. The totally horrendous statistic from another study reported over 70% of them get it- that's legalized torture of children in the United States! Judge Jane Harper in Charlotte, N.C. gave custody to a father AFTER she ordered him to attend abuse counseling, which he never did, AND mother was long known to be very caring, kids did not want to switch, etc. Defensive medicine & legal costs account for nearly 1/3 of health costs. Brandeis Univ. reported that many divorced women over 63 rank among our poorest. A woman in Kinnelon, NJ got mad when already-awarded housing support was slow in coming. She soon lost her 950 sqft house to foreclosure. Then public funds were used to pay $63,000 to have her evaluated, against her will, in a pysch ward for 3 wks, finding nothing. She remains homeless, having gotten numerous runarounds from various social services, wasting more money.]
What is reported in NYT article below supports Chana Taub’s claims (she has been trying to get a divorce in Brooklyn for almost 4 yrs, but her main supreme court judge, Carolyn Demarest, has refused to recuse, and the DA’s office has ignored violations that have even made the news) that she cannot get justice there. Even the brief removal of her case to Judge Laura Drager in NYC was sent back to the same judge, even though the first divorce filing had been dismissed (questionably). Judge Drager said she didn’t want to counter another judge. But neither did the STATE of NY! The fact that the NY STATE Judicial Complaint Commission just said there were insufficient grounds for recusal of Judge Demarest– over 40 pages with lots of official documentation prepared by a lawyer were sent- casts even a broader cloud about what is happening in NY courts- injustice is obviously not limited to this case!
In fact many studies prove it is almost impossible to get judges recused (merely dismissed from a given case) across the country. As for removal from the bench, for CA federal judges only one was even disciplinedout out of 766 complaints in 2001 - statistic reported by legalreform-now.org.! Sanctioning or removing judges NEEDS the check & balance that would come from groups comprised of a majority of non-lawyers since NO groups are good at policing themselves-it goes against human nature! Wasted court time also costs taxpayers billions per year. A retired NY judge "guestimated" it costs about $4500 to operate one courtROOM for one day! HOW can we solve our financial crisis or indeed anything else without establsihing more checks and balances on our legal system ? Indeed, how can we lead??
As the NYT article below clearly shows, the lack of justice extends way beyond issues of divorce. In fact in Brooklyn the building dept. has been ignoring for years that Chana Taub’s husband has apt. buildings that are totally illegal – 103 violations were listed ( no building permits or certificates of occupancy since bldgs in commercial zone, safety violations, etc) and over $50,000 in unpaid fines. The Post Office has been ignoring that the buildings have no mail boxes, the fire dept. has been ignoring fire safety violations, and police ignore much, too. I’ve been told that part of the problem is insufficient funds to enforce regulations – wouldn’t collecting the fines help? Etc., etc.!!!! But nothing is more despicable than the legal system of the United States deliberately harming children! That's "Taliban" tactics! 8/11/09 UPDATE RE HORRENDOUS LEGAL ABUSE TACTICS IN BROOKLYN (though similar horror stories have been reported across country). Female Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares July 29 gave divorced father 5 day custody of 8 & 10 yr old sons of oldest daughter (who had testified in court re her stepfather's abusive behaviors when she lived at home with him & her mother) of Chana Taub EVEN though 5 yrs ago he had criminal conviction for inappropriate sexual touching, etc. of one of these sons plus of oldest daughter (then 10) & had 3 yrs supervised visitation and since no overnights. Judge said mother would be handcuffed & jailed if Aug. 4 she didn't return to court with kids' passports. She ordered Chana Taub out of courtroom & said she'd be handcuffed & jailed if she returned. Then she ordered additional 9-day visit ( even though kids protested first order to stay overnight & during that stay 10 yr old was so upset he refused to eat the entire time) when the mother said she needed new lawyer. Mother filed an appeal & I protested to higher judge, noting I've also been asked to give data to Pres. Obama's new post on domestic violence. Order for 9-day visit was overturned, but there's been no sanctioning of Judge Sheares or of the guardian ad litem, Jennifer Marshall, who ignored numerous bad behaviors on record about the father. (Note: June 2007 Brooklyn Judge Garson was sentenced to 10 yrs in jail for bribery for insuring divorcing mothers got almost no financial settlement & often lost custody etc. One lawyer was also jailed, but all know they couldn't have pulled off what they did without more help. The NJ FBI scandal (money-laundering, etc) published in July included 3 Brooklyn Rabbis. My opinion- there might be a connection. WHAT DO YOU THINK??
WHERE DOES ONE TURN WHEN SEVERAL HIGH-LEVEL AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN FOUND CORRUPT? HOW CAN U.S. BE LEADERS IF WE DON'T CLEAN UP OUR LEGAL SYSTEM, SINCE IT INCREASES HEALTH CARE & BUSINESS COSTS, & ENABLES CYCLING ABUSIVE BEHAVIORS THERE WHILE ALSO TRAINING RECRUITS FROM OUR CHILDREN???????????????????????
April 18, 2009, The New York Times
No Cause for Arrest
By BOB HERBERT
The youngsters who were surrounded by New York City police officers and arrested for no good reason while walking along a street in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn nearly two years ago are being vindicated.
The city has agreed to settle false arrest lawsuits brought by 16 of the youngsters and will pay them from $9,000 to $23,000 each. The settlement papers are expected to be signed by the youngsters on Saturday, according to their lawyer, Michael Scolnick.
The arrests and prosecution of the young people — more than 30 in all — amounted to an outlandish abuse of police and prosecutorial power. Police officers swooped in and arrested everyone in the group, boys and girls and young men and women, ranging in age from 13 to their early-20s.
They were not just arrested while walking peacefully down a quiet street in broad daylight, but they were publicly bad-mouthed by police officials and the Brooklyn district attorney. In fact, the kids had done nothing wrong. They lacked even the normal exuberance you might expect from a large group of young people. They were grieving.
The youngsters had assembled in a park on May 21, 2007, and proceeded to walk toward a subway station. They were planning to attend a wake for a friend who had been murdered in what the police believed was a gang-related crime.
According to the police, the group went on a rampage on a residential, tree-lined block of Putnam Avenue. Top Police Department officials, including Commissioner Ray Kelly, said the kids were yelling, blocking traffic and climbing on top of parked cars.
The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles Hynes, told a radio audience: “They were not just walking on one car; they were trampling on all sorts of cars. It was almost as if they were inviting their arrest.”
The only problem was that this rampage never happened. No evidence was ever produced of the kids blocking traffic (there was hardly any vehicular or pedestrian traffic on the street), or of anyone clambering on top of cars. Witnesses who saw the kids, including one man who used his cellphone to take photos of some of them who were handcuffed on the sidewalk, said they had been orderly, quiet and well behaved.
The arrests took place right outside the first-floor windows of Greer Martin, a woman who spoke on the record a few days after the arrests, despite her reluctance to have her name printed in a newspaper, because she felt the police officers had abused their power. “I was shocked beyond shock,” she told me. “My windows were open, and it didn’t look like the kids had done anything wrong.”
Leana Mejia, a student at John Jay College who was among those arrested, said the cops were the ones out of control. “They cursed us and pushed the guys,” she said. “And then they handcuffed us. We kept asking, ‘What are you doing?’ ”
If the police or prosecutors thought the kids would plead guilty to some minor offense and go quietly on their way, they were mistaken. The kids fought back, asserting their innocence and refusing to acquiesce in their humiliation. The authorities stalled and some of the cases dragged on for months, some for more than a year.
The prosecutors had nothing. Because the rampage was a fantasy.
One by one, the cases were dismissed. In some instances, the prosecutors themselves threw in the towel.
Diana Rodriguez, an assistant D.A. in Mr. Hynes’s office, told me on Friday: “As to some individual defendants, we felt we could not prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So there were some cases that we on our own moved to dismiss.”
Many of the youngsters sued, charging that they were falsely arrested and illegally held at a local precinct house, some of them for a day and a half.
In agreeing to settle the lawsuits, the city refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing. But it has agreed to pay from $20,000 to $23,000 to individuals who were held in custody overnight and subjected to prolonged exposure to the criminal justice system. Others, many of them younger, reportedly will receive $9,000 each.
When asked to comment on the case, Mr. Scolnick said: “My impression is that the bulk of our police officers do what they are supposed to. On the other hand, what I have been told by my clients is that their being stopped on the street merely for being on the street is about as common an occurrence in their lives as me getting up in the morning and brushing my teeth, and that’s pretty outrageous.
“I can’t imagine that 32 young white people walking down the streets of Scarsdale to pay their respects to a friend would have been arrested that way.”