Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Judgment without being Judgmental

We're coming off of Yom Kippur, and heading into Sukkoth. I have completed the Yom Kippur fast, and have done about 90% of the work on my Sukkah. My main malady now is fatigue.

Justice Carol Edmead of the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, has come down with a number of notable decisions of late. Before Carol played the politics and got herself a black judge's robe to wear, she assisted me in obtaining a particular elusive credential as an attorney, so it pleases me all the more that she is proving to be a credit to the bench. She has called her cases as she sees them, let the chips fall where they may, and kept her personal and political biases in the irrelevant column.

One such case is Matter of Urban Justice Center v. New York Police Department, decided about 3 weeks ago. It is a relatively lengthy read of legal mumbo jumbo, necessitated by the very technical nature of the issues involved. To spare the reader's time, I shall distill its essence as follows:

The Urban Justice Center, a non-profit legal and social services corporation, has a "Sex Workers Project" division whose reason for being is to protect the rights of the so-called "Sex Workers." SWP is now studying the legal ramifications of certain types of sexual behavior which do not involve penetrative contact, including the so-called "BDSM" (bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism). To such end, SWP has requested, under New York's Freedom of Information Law, certain documents from the New York Police Department. The documents consist of the NYPD's training manuals as to arrests for prostitution (Category 1) and memos and manuals of policies and investigation records of bondage and domination establishments (Category 2). The NYPD denied the request, and UJC/SWP's appeal fortuitously hit Justice Edmead's chambers.

Justice Edmead upheld NYPD's denial of the Category 1 documents, in light of the risks to the integrity of the NYPD's operations and the safety of its officers. Category 2 documents were required to be produced, however.

Okay, I know, I know -- The profession, and all of its specializations, have been around from time immemorial. But the UJC's employees and directors, as reflected on its Form 990, seem to be heavy on the left side, and many are connected with the ACLU. And if there is one thing this recovering liberal Democrat has learned over the years, it is that the ACLU has an agenda which is influenced more by political orientation than by the grand principles of liberty [for all you ACLU watchers, I deliberately allowed my membership to lapse after Skokie]. Accordingly, I cannot help but wonder whether SWP will (if it has not already) cross that line which demarcates the separation between protecting the victims on one hand, and encouraging and enabling the abominators on the other.

The case, then, carries lots and lots of baggage and "guts appeal." Justice Carol Edmead fulfilled her noble purpose by keeping the police honest, while not allowing UJC to obtain one more Post-It note of paper from NYPD than any other group would be allowed to obtain.

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