In a shocking interference with the democratic process, the Appellate Division disqualified the only opposing candidate for Queens District Attorney last week, for the silly reason that he wasn’t a lawyer (Panel Rules Non-Lawyer Cannot Run for Queens D.A. NYLJ 9/8/11).
The court should recognize what everybody else knows: DA’s aren’t lawyers. Trial DA’s are just cops in better-fitting suits. Appeals DA’s are the losers who’ve been exiled to the Rubber Room.
The would-be Queens DA candidate was Mr. Everly Brown (no relation to the incumbent Brown) who, according to his website, is a happily married father of seven and a Developer and Banker (caps in original). Despite this capitalist profile, his platform is ACLU without spellcheck:
*EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL…FROM DAY ONE..!!
*END RACIAL PROFILING, DISCRIMINATION AND STOP AND FRISK.
*END POLICE BRUTALITY AND HARASSMENT OF OUR YOUTHS AND PROVIDE MORE LEARNING AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES.
*BEGIN POLICE SENSATIVITY TRAINING.
*REFORM THE LEGAL SYSTEM.
*FIGHT TO END DEPORTATION OF IMMIGRANTS BEFORE AND AFTER THEY HAVE SERVED THEIR TIME.
*APPLY THE ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW CORRECTLY BY TREATMENT INSTEAD OF INCARCERATION.
CREATING A SAFER, MORE PEACEFUL AND HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE OF THIS GREAT BOROUGH OF ….QUEENS!
What’s not to vote for? You don’t hear the present DA promising to reform the legal system. As Pappy O’Daniel tells his backward son in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” “I can’t be for reform, I’m the incumbent.”
But the fussy Appellate Division k.o.’d the Developer and Banker’s candidacy, opining that “District Attorney” means an officer of the court bound by the rules of professional ethics. (Matter of Brown v. Board of Elections 2011).
You talking about the Queens DA? That’s the office that sends Assistant DA’s to Central Booking to bamboozle arrestees awaiting arraignment into “telling your story” by falsely promising to investigate on their behalf. A practice that even a few Queens judges thought dodgy enough to be grounds for suppression.
Pappy Incumbent promptly wrote the judges personal letters suggesting they change their minds. Which they did. Matter of Brown, Memo of Law p.10. He then went after Judge Joel Blumenfeld for having the gall to ask a legal ethics professor for an opinion about how the DA’s “program” of giving misleading legal advice to unrepresented adverse parties squared with New York’s professional responsibility standards. It may be okay for cops to lie, but lawyers are supposed to be different.
In a furious petition to the Appellate Division, Pappy Brown called the resulting report “the incendiary and baseless accusations of an activist,” practically accused the judge and the professor of sleeping together and demanded a court order to sink the report and make the judge hush up. “The purpose of the program is to determine the truth at the earliest possible moment,” he explained, adjusting his halo.
Maybe it does take a lawyer to come up with that kind of doubletalk.