New York County Lawyers Association Issues Statement on Judicial Accountability Bill Package Sent to Assembly
The New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA), today issued the following statement:
During the State’s annual budget process, provisions were proposed to be added to the annual budget bill that threatened legislative interference with the independence of New York’s state judiciary. Those proposed provisions would have required the Office of Court Administration (“OCA”) to publish annual performance reviews, by individual judge and justice. The proposed performance reviews were calculated to embarrass individual members of the judiciary and took no account of Covid-related backlogs or differences in dockets across the state or even within different parts in particular counties.
The proposals would have also required disclosure of information about training of judicial personnel, which may sound innocuous on its face but in fact was designed to influence the judiciary on controversial topics such as bail reform, by second-guessing how OCA was training the judiciary on these important topics. And, the proposals sought disclosure of individualized information about judicial security, even though disclosing that information could expose particular judges and justices to the specific harms that the security sought to prevent, by enabling potential wrongdoers to understand what the security protocols and arrangements were, and therefore how they could be circumvented.
Because of our concerns about how these provisions would impact judicial independence, as well as the security and safety of individual judges and justices, on March 21, 2023 NYCLA issued a statement opposing these provisions and their inclusion in any budget bill. These provisions ultimately fell by the wayside in the budget process and were not included in the final budget bill as passed, more than a month late, which we noted in a follow-up statement on May 3, 2023.
About the New York County Lawyers Association
The New York County Lawyers Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as one of the first major bar associations in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender, and has a long history of supporting the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Since its inception, NYCLA has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence. For more information on NYCLA please visit nycla.org.
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