Monday, May 3, 2010

Justice Schack, After Being Denied a Pay Raise, Recuses Himself from Foreclosure Matter

Justice Schack published a volumnious decision explaining his rationale for recusing himself from a foreclosure matter.  See U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v 1163 Prospect Realty Corp., 2010 NY Slip Op 50765(U) (Sup. Ct. Kings County May 3, 2010).  Justice Schack explains: 

To avoid any potential appearance of impropriety in the instant case, since both Senator Craig M. Johnson and Assembly Member Marc S. Alessi are both of counsel to Jaspan Schelsinger LLP, plaintiff's counsel, I must recuse myself from this matter. If I were to deny the instant motion for an order of reference it could be construed as retaliation against the Legislature by an aggrieved judge. Conversely, if I were to grant the instant application for an order of reference, it could be perceived as an attempt to curry favor with Mr. Johnson, Mr. Alessi, and their 210 colleagues in the New York State Assembly and Senate. I know I can be fair and impartial in deciding the instant motion for an order of reference. However, in the exercise of discretion and good conscience, and to avoid any speculation as to the rationale for my ruling, I must recuse myself from this case.

I hope that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Alessi would allow the judges of this state to receive their first pay raise in the twenty-first century. Thanks to our legislators, including both Senator Johnson and Assemblyman Alessi, our New York State judges are the "Rodney Dangerfields" of government. A pay raise would help to give us a little respect, instead of, as said by former Chief Judge Kaye in January 2008, "the disdain with which we are treated."

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