More on the Threat to Miranda Rights in Queens

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Last week, I put up a morning link about how Queens, NYC District Attorney Richard Brown may be systematically undermining the Miranda rights of indigent suspects. New York criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield has actually been covering this story for several months at his blog, Simple Justice. His posts, order:

That last post is particularly juicy. It isn’t often that you get to see a former judge ask another judge if he wants to take it outside.

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9 Responses to “More on the Threat to Miranda Rights in Queens”

  1. #1 |  Aresen | 

    Judge fight:

    Alright, your Honors: No contempt, no recesses and no hitting below the supeona.

    When the bell rings, come out of the corner with your gavels up.

  2. #2 |  varmintito | 

    Former judge Bellacosa (the DA’s expert witness) wrote a letter to Lawrence Fox (the chair of the ABA Ethics Committee and a professor of legal ethics at Yale law school, who has submitted an amicus curiae brief opposing the DA’s practice). The letter is an embarrassment. It is jam packed with personal insults, and closes “with no due respect.” Unbelievably childish. Moreover, it is written in an opaque florid style that is virtually unreadable. It also drips with an air of entitlement, as if he doesn’t realize that he no longer wears the robe and is just another lawyer in the fight. He also makes a point of copying his letter to the other law professors who joined Fox on the brief.

    It sounds like Bellacosa has had a distinguished career as a judge and law school dean, but this letter does neither his reputation nor the DA’s argument any favors. Which, ultimately, is fine, because the DA’s policy is pretty outrageous.

  3. #3 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Greenfield got it right: West Side Story tunes are most appropriate.

    Mr. Former Judge, take heed:

    Boy, boy, crazy boy!
    Stay loose, boy!
    Breeze it, buzz it, easy does it.
    Turn off the juice, boy!
    Go man, go,
    But not like a yo-yo schoolboy.
    Just play it cool, boy,
    Real cool!

  4. #4 |  marco73 | 

    Maybe back during boot camp when everyone was 19 and scared shitless, talking like that was the way to try to get some “tough” cred. But for any professional to put something like that in writing? Reads more like the ravings of a senile old man.
    And hasn’t anyone heard of the Streisand effect? Soon enough, Judge Bellacosa’s rantings are going to start showing up, referenced all over web sites he never heard of. That will draw unexpected attention to DA Brown’s machinations.
    Maybe someone should read the Miranda warnings to the DA’s office and to Judge Bellacosa, especially the “You have a right to remain silent” part.

  5. #5 |  duisamurai | 

    Bellacosa is trying too hard to appear bellicose.

  6. #6 |  duisamurai | 

    Doesn’t bella cosa mean “pretty thing” in Italian?

  7. #7 |  leviramsey | 

    It’s not that far off from this bit from Homicide: Life on the Street

    (which is largely verbatim from a passage in David Simon’s book on which the series is based)

    Stuff like this isn’t exactly new, if Simon is to be believed.

  8. #8 |  varmintito | 

    marco73 @4: Bingo. This is the “I am aware of all internet traditions” of legal writing. Clueless+Arrogant=Mockery.

  9. #9 |  Dave | 

    Makes this Queens, NY resident feel all fuzy that he didn’t vote for Brown. Makes me sad that this is happening in my hometown. What we need is a way to watch prosecutors with an over site committee (preferable elected), and remove some of the protections DA’s have from the law