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Bronx Judiciary Awash in Patronage, All Legal


— November 30, -0001

Last summer, Justice Douglas E. McKeon, up for re-election to State Supreme Court in the Bronx, decided he needed to raise some campaign money. The judge, though, did not turn to the residents of the Bronx to back his candidacy. Instead, his campaign solicited money from scores of lawyers, including many who regularly appear before him in court. Within weeks, his campaign had reaped more than $50,000.

Justice McKeon’s mixing of politics and the courts is neither illegal nor isolated. Over the years, the roughly 20 judges who handle civil litigation in Supreme Court in the Bronx � virtually all of whom owe their jobs to the Bronx Democratic Party � have operated, day in and day out, in a world suffused with politics.

Consider, for instance, the court’s dealings with Gerald L. Sheiowitz. Judges on what is known as the civil term of the Supreme Court in the Bronx have awarded him more than $300,000 in legal work in recent years, a formidable sum among the lawyers who work the courtrooms on the Grand Concourse.

No one disputes that Mr. Sheiowitz is a lawyer in good standing. But courthouse regulars also understand why Mr. Sheiowitz was treated so generously. He is the treasurer of the Bronx Democratic Party. That fact may also help explain why judges in the Bronx have awarded his daughter more than $50,000 in court work, even though she is not a lawyer.

Something rotten in the Bronx? Details here from The New York Times.


Last summer, Justice Douglas E. McKeon, up for re-election to State Supreme Court in the Bronx, decided he needed to raise some campaign money. The judge, though, did not turn to the residents of the Bronx to back his candidacy. Instead, his campaign solicited money from scores of lawyers, including many who regularly appear before him in court. Within weeks, his campaign had reaped more than $50,000.

Justice McKeon’s mixing of politics and the courts is neither illegal nor isolated. Over the years, the roughly 20 judges who handle civil litigation in Supreme Court in the Bronx � virtually all of whom owe their jobs to the Bronx Democratic Party � have operated, day in and day out, in a world suffused with politics.

Consider, for instance, the court’s dealings with Gerald L. Sheiowitz. Judges on what is known as the civil term of the Supreme Court in the Bronx have awarded him more than $300,000 in legal work in recent years, a formidable sum among the lawyers who work the courtrooms on the Grand Concourse.

No one disputes that Mr. Sheiowitz is a lawyer in good standing. But courthouse regulars also understand why Mr. Sheiowitz was treated so generously. He is the treasurer of the Bronx Democratic Party. That fact may also help explain why judges in the Bronx have awarded his daughter more than $50,000 in court work, even though she is not a lawyer.

Something rotten in the Bronx? Details here from The New York Times.

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