I took a look at this article, first to find out what the judge had done (or not done) and, second, to find out which judge.
So here’s what she did (and didn’t) do:
While acknowledging that a federal judge appropriately “fell on the sword” by taking blame for a speedy trial violation, a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Thursday that her dismissal of the defendant’s indictment without prejudice was not a stringent-enough remedy for the error.
Overruling Eastern District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf, the 2-1 panel reversed Raheem Bert’s conviction and dismissed his indictment on weapons charges with prejudice after finding the judge failed to give proper weight to the harm done to Bert’s defense during the nine months it took her to rule on his suppression motion.
She didn’t do her job on time and in not doing her job, she showed contempt for a defendant in a criminal case.
I’m only guessing, but I’d think this action taken by the Second Circuit, the federal appellate court that governs the Eastern District (Brooklyn), against a lower court judge is, in its deliberately modified harshness, really unusual. Judges do not often slam other judges like this.
And who is she? I’m sure I’m not the only person in the city who remembers that Mauskopf was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, appointed by our bizarrely underqualified Republican governor, George Pataki (who is, I barely realize, running for the presidency, right? Isn’t he? Is he still in that pack?), and was put on the bench by George Bush.
I recall at the time thinking that she was not a well qualified choice for either job.
Don’t we just love it when our own impressions are vindicated–even if years later?
P.S. What does “dismissed with prejudice” mean? From Black’s Law Dictionary:
dismissal with prejudice. A dismissal, usually after an adjudication on the merits, barring the plaintiff from prosecuting any later lawsuit on the same claim.
Since this is a criminal case, it means that the plaintiff, i.e., the federal prosecutor, can’t pursue a case against the defendant. That is, it’s gone, thanks to Judge Mauskopf’s negligence.