Sunday, April 14, 2013


The NY Times started a multi-article examination of the broken criminal justice system in The Bronx, New York here.  Former ASA and current Bronx ADA Josh Gradinger makes an appearance winning a murder trial, but with the reporter noting his pants cuffs were frayed. 

The stats are pretty bad: The Bronx has almost a thousand felony cases approaching over two years old, as compared to Manhattan which has less then 200. 

One interesting part of the article is the reporting on the relatively short work day. Court is supposed to start at 9:30 but doesn't really get going until ten and it's usually 11 before all parties are present. Lunch is supposed to be an hour but usually approaches two, and court starts again at 2 until about 3:30, although court is supposed to stay open until 4:30. 

For some reason this sentence caught our eye: 
Some judges wander into their crowded courtrooms at 10:15 or later without excuse or apology.

It must be something in the dye of the robes that leaks into the blood stream and causes changes. 

It was also interesting to note that apparently by long tradition, jury trials are held only three days a week. 

Things appear to be different in the Bronx:
During an attempted-murder trial that slogged through nine weeks last summer, Judge Denis J. Boyle would take the bench in his mostly empty courtroom at 9:30, only to stare into space, expressionless, sometimes for two hours, waiting for the lawyers or the jurors. The lead prosecutor in that case took a vacation in the middle of the trial, which some lawyers called unheard-of.

We have our problems in Miami, but we cannot imagine any judge tolerating that level of disrespect from lawyers and jurors. 

We do indeed live in paradise. 


We received this comment on Sunday:

Kathleen Smith Zorn said...
Tomorrow (April 15, 2013) will be ten years, to the day, since Gemma Cosentino passed away. She was one of those rare of people in the criminal justice building in the 1980's who could disagree without being disagreeable (post Vietnam era -- passions ran high and tempers flared hot), and who was equally well liked by men and women.

We want to add this: You could be entranced by Gemma, because with her jet black hair and striking features, she was beautiful. But if that was all you saw, you missed so much. She was smart, and caring, and dedicated and had a wonderful sense of humor. She was taken from us and her family much too soon. We did a post about her five years ago, courtesy of the Captain- here it is. 

If there is one singular thing we are proud of this blog for, it is in remembering those who came before us. 

See you in court. 


Anonymous said...

From TMZ, Justin Bieber visits Anne Franks' house wearing a hoodie and puts up his dukes.


I say idiot.

CAPTAIN said...

12:42 PM

Rumpole posts about the woefully depressing criminal justice system in NY.

He then posts about one of our finest and most dedicated criminal defense attorneys from our community, who died way before her time;

and you post about the Bieber.

I say idiot.

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

I read today's article and can not believe what those judges are tolerating.

I was always concerned about being late to court, and as a result would arrive extra early. I suppose I was the idiot.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to your thougthful post Rumpole.

@1:09, Captain, no one calls him The Bieber. He is called 'the Biebs.' My thoughts are, sheer stupidity and ignorance what he did.