Federal appeals court upholds stop and frisk ruling

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] on Friday upheld [text, PDF] a lower court ruling that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) [official website] stop and frisk program [text] program was carried out in a discriminatory manner. The court refused to throw out the lower court ruling written by Judge Shira Scheindlin simply because she was removed from the case. In the ruling, the three-judge panel reasoned the city would be able to pursue their issues with Scheindlin's ruling on appeal. The court also addressed claims by Scheindlin that there was not enough in the record to support her removal ruling the appeals panel reviewed all relevant facts in coming to the decision. This ruling effectively ends Mayor Bloomberg's [official website] attempts to vacate [JURIST report] the changes to the program. This means Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio [official website] will be tasked with addressing the issue.

Criticism of NYPD's stop-and-frisk procedure revolves primarily around the relevant racial issues involved [JURIST op-ed]. Critics claim the procedures are unconstitutional [JURIST op-ed] because they unfairly target minorities, who are disproportionately selected for stops and searches. Other criticisms indicate that the procedure itself is unwieldy and ineffective [JURIST op-ed], emphasizing quantity of searches over their quality and resulting in an unnecessary drain on department time and resources. Earlier this month, the court blocked [JURIST report] NYPD stop-and-frisk changes. In the period between 2004 and 2011 only 1.5 percent of the 2.3 million searches conducted revealed an illegal weapon. In September Scheindlin rejected [JURIST report] a motion by the City of New York to stay her order requiring a halt of the stop-and-frisk procedure. In February the judge granted [JURIST report] class action status to those challenging the procedure. That decision followed an order in January allowing [JURIST report] the searches to resume after a previous ruling had required them to stop.

 

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