On Thursday, a federal appeals court suspended an August ruling that halted the New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk program.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, the lower court judge, “ran afoul” of judicial ethics. The court pulled her from the case, citing an “appearance of partiality surrounding this litigation.”
The appeals court said Scheindlin violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges by failing to “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities” and by failing to disqualify herself “in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned” because she spoke about her personal beliefs on the issue. She also defended her decision in media interviews with the New York Law Journal, The Associated Press and The New Yorker and in public statements. Scheindlin was involved in related cases, which also contributed to the higher court’s decision:
Scheindlin’s long-standing battle with the NYPD was thoroughly documented by The New Yorker earlier this year. Her decision in the case that found stop-and-frisk to be unconstitutional (Floyd, et. al. vs. City of New York) was linked, even before the case began, to another case in which she’d already found against the police. (source)
In August, Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy violates both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by subjecting innocent people to searches without any evidence or reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.