New York Times
by CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy
Your article suggests that our stop-and-frisk case, Floyd v. City of New York, somehow “bypassed the random assignment process and went directly” to Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, as if that were exceptional or controversial.
In fact, it was not only the norm but also a requirement under the court’s rules, under penalty of financial sanction, that litigants mark cases brought with similar facts and legal arguments as related. Your article does not adequately emphasize the mandatory nature of the related case designation.
We settled a nearly identical case on racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices by the New York Police Department before Judge Scheindlin, but the number of unconstitutional stops rose dramatically. The facts were the same. The legal arguments were the same. We marked the new case as related.
Judge Scheindlin, as any reasonable judge who is obligated to consider judicial efficiency would, took the case. The city at no point formally objected because there was nothing to object to.
There is nothing unusual about the assignment of our case, as a consideration of the facts and the law demonstrates.
Center for Constitutional Rights
New York, Dec. 24, 2013