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June 14, 2004

Only in New York City

A judge ordered a defendant to leave a Queens courtroom through a side door yesterday so he could elude a detective waiting in a hallway to arrest him in a separate robbery case, the police said. The judge's action prompted the police commissioner to call for a judicial misconduct investigation.

The defendant, Derek Sterling, was appearing before the judge, Justice Laura D. Blackburne of State Supreme Court in Queens, for a routine update about his progress in a drug treatment program that he had been sent to after a drug arrest. Justice Blackburne was apparently irritated with the detective's arrival at her courtroom and accused him in the record of misrepresenting himself. . . .

According to a transcript of the hearing, Justice Blackburne then said to Mr. Sterling, "I understand that there is a detective on the premises who has some reason to believe that he ought to arrest you."

"I resent the fact that a detective came to this court under the ruse of wanting to ask you questions when, in fact, he had it in his head that he wanted to arrest you. If there is a basis for him arresting you, he will have to present that in the form of a warrant," she said, according to the transcript.

And so she let the defendant escape through a side door. Only in New York City. Well . . . I could imagine this happening in D.C. and San Francisco too. Thankfully, the defendant has since been apprehended.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 09:43 AM | Permalink

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