New York County Lawyers Association Objects to NYPD Post Calling Out the Wrong Judge and Calls for More Measured Debate


New York County Lawyers Association Objects to NYPD Post Calling Out the Wrong Judge and Calls for More Measured Debate

Statements & Letters
Written by: NYCLA Officers
Published On: Mar 08, 2024
Category: Statements & Letters

March 7, 2024 New York, New York – The New York County Lawyers Association has a long history of defending judges against unfair personal attacks in the media. We do this because the judges themselves are subject to ethics rules that prohibit them from coming to their own defense. We strongly believe that it is the responsibility of a bar association to fill that gap. In the service of that responsibility, we feel compelled to speak in response to recent social media posts by representatives of the New York City Police Department.

In a post on the social media platform X objecting to a decision to release a particular defendant without bail, the NYPD (through its Chief of Patrol) asserted that the Hon. Machelle Sweeting “did not do her job.” When it was later came to light that the post had identified the wrong judge (that is, Judge Sweeting was not the judge who had made the decision in question), it was followed with an apology to Judge Sweeting accompanied by a statement that “the story remains the same” and the judge (this time unidentified) “did NOT do their job.”


We realize that reasonable minds may differ on a range of legal issues, including the propriety of individual bail determinations. The judge had lawful authority to make the decision that she did, and members of the community (including the NYPD) are free to agree or disagree with the decision. But we feel compelled to object to the hyperbolic nature of the post at issue, which called out a judge, by name, for “set[ting] free a predator back into the community, who may be on your next train, or walking the streets of our city, looking for his next victim.” Even worse, the post identified the wrong judge.

The personalized nature of this harsh public comment risked inflaming public ire at a member of the judiciary—indeed, the wrong member of the judiciary. We cannot ignore the fact that we live today in an atmosphere where judges have been the subject of threats, intimidation, and even violence. That is why NYCLA has supported, and continues to support, the Judicial Security Act – which is designed to help protect judges by shielding their personal identifying information from certain kinds of public disclosure.

We respectfully submit that social media postings, especially those made by public and publicly funded institutions, should tone down the temperature. And certainly, they should take care to get their facts straight. The reputations of our public servants are at stake.


About the New York County Lawyers Association

The New York County Lawyers Association ( 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. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.

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