Judge Arthur Schack didn’t waste any time in 2009 to recuse himself from a case that comes between himself and his suit against the city.
In court papers filed on January 5, the Brooklyn jurist explained that he was bowing out of a case filed against Brookdale Hospital Medical Center because attorneys for the plaintiff are connected with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Schack is one of a handful of judges currently suing the state for a pay raise which they say is a decade overdue.
He took on the personal injury case against Brookdale without knowing the plaintiff’s attorney’s connection to Silver.
In fact, he did not know about the link until after he ordered Brookdale Hospital to provide plaintiff Harold Smith with medical records from the time he was being treated at the hospital and sustained the injuries for which he was seeking recompense.
In his recusal, Schack said that instead of mailing the medical records to Smith’s attorneys at Weitz & Luxemberg P.C., Brookdale Hospital sent the parcel to his chambers.
Weitz and Luxemberg had to fax over a request to have the parcel sent to their office.
When Schack received the request – which was on company letterhead – he noticed that Silver’s name was on it under the title “of counsel.”
Upon learning of the connection, Schack filed his recusal, but not before explaining his reason, which came with quotes from a recent New York Daily News editorial.
Schack filed his Article 78 proceeding against the state in 2006.
“It is high time for Speaker Silver to realize that the approximately 1300 New York State judges are working people who deserve their first pay raise in more than a decade.”
Referring to the New York Daily News editorial regarding state senate and assembly members – who receive raises at the same time judges do – working second jobs, Schack said that State Senator Marty Golden claimed that “We struggle to put our kids through school and pay our bills just like everybody else.”
“Senator Golden could have been talking about judges when he said that,” Schack explained.
Schack said he had to recuse himself because he was caught in the middle.
“If I were to deny any future motions or orders to show cause on behalf of the plaintiff it could be construed as retaliation against the legislature by an aggrieved judge,” he wrote. “Conversely, if I were to grant any future motions or orders to show cause on behalf of defendant, it could be perceived as an attempt to curry favor with Speaker Silver and his 211 colleagues in the New York State Assembly and Senate.”
The case was thrown back to the court to have a new judge assigned.
Judge Schack has recused himself a handful of times while his case against the state wends its way through the courts – even after a ruling was made that judges shouldn’t recuse themselves from such cases.
A man arrested for gun possession filed a motion to have the charges dropped, claiming that the arrest violated his second amendment rights.
According to court papers, Albi Abdullah was arrested back in August, 2008 after cops found a gun in his apartment.
Papers show that Abdullah led the police right to the gun, which was not in plain sight and the plaintiff claimed was only used for home protection.
Officials said that the Abdullah was arrested after his wife had filed an order of protection against him following a previous fight.
The day after the order was filed with the courts, Abdullah returned home. His wife immediately called police.
When the cops came, they asked him if he had any firearms in the house.
Abdullah admitted that he did have a handgun and it was in the kitchen cabinet.
The officer retrieved the gun and took Abdullah into custody on the weapons charge.
In his motion to quash the charges, Abdullah’s attorneys cited a previous case in which the District of Columbia’s ban on the possession of handguns in the home was ordered unconstitutional because it violated the Second Amendment, which gives Americans the rights to bear arms.
Judge Dena Douglas said that the case in the District of Columbia, which is a federal enclave rather than a state, is quite different than Abdullah’s, especially since New York does not have a complete ban on possession of handguns.
Since New York State law clearly states that no one can have a firearm in their homes unless they are registered, Douglas threw out the motion, leaving Abdullah facing a weapons charge.