Thursday, November 13, 2014

Police unions cannot intervene in now-settled stop-and-frisk litigation

The much-publicized stop-and-frisk case that raised questions about racial profiling and led to the removal of a federal judge from the case is still kicking around. While New York City has since settled the case, the police unions want to revive the case in the interests of protecting the reputation of its members who, the district court found, had stopped and frisked minority residents for no reason.

The case is Floyd v. City of New York, decided on October 31, exactly one year after the Court of Appeals kicked Judge Scheindlin off the case, holding that her public comments and case-management practices conveyed possible bias against the police. In fact, she had written an extensive decision in finding that the City had violated the Constitution in frisking people without reasonable suspicion. The decision to remove Judge Scheindlin from the case triggered much controversy, but it was mooted when Mayor DiBlasio was sworn in and settled the case.

When that happened the public thought the case was over. But not for the police union, which objected to Judge Scheindlin's ruling. But the Court of Appeals (Parker, Cabranes and Walker) objects to the union's maneuvering. Not only is the unions' motion to intervene untimely, but they do not assert an interest that the law seeks to protect. The unions should have known when the case was unfolding that they had an interest in the case. They did not attempt to intervene until now. Beyond that, the motions to intervene do not satisfy Federal Rule 24. The unions' asserted interests in the case -- to protect officer reputations -- are too insubstantial and indirect to be legally protectable. In addition, the Court of Appeals says,

Whatever the merit of the unions’ claim that Judge Scheindlin’s rulings were incorrectly premised “upon statistical evidence purporting to place 4.4 million stops at issue,” allowing the unions to revive a now‐settled dispute by intervening at this late juncture would substantially prejudice the existing parties and unduly encroach upon the City’s inherent discretion to settle a dispute against it. In other words, granting the unions’ motions in the wake of the November 2013 mayoral election would essentially condone a collateral attack on the democratic process and could erode the legitimacy of decisions made by the democratically‐elected representatives of the people."

1 comment:

Faris Malik said...

yeah i agree The Americans with Disabilities Act has a loophole: unless the government is filing the lawsuit, a litigant cannot sue a private entity for damages, only injunctive relief. Civil Case