Monday, April 5, 2010


NYLJ 06-06-2007


[This is one I never seem to get tired of (see entry for February 13, 2010). Perhaps it may strike some as schadefreude, but is actually the sweetness of Justice relaized in the material world. It happens not often, and is rarely poetic, but is still a marvel to witness.]

1. The ongoing saga of corruption in Brooklyn’s court system is sordid, tawdry and a prime example of how machine politics still works; an eternal weed rooted in the soil of man’s nature, festering and spreading underground, only know when it raises its scandal as a flower of evil, one that no amount of pesticides of regulation will ever…

Yeah, a day at the vegetable patch turns into an election-year stump speech.

When Justice Garson was sentenced to 3-to-10 for bribery, receiving rewards and official misconduct, it was at the end of a classic “Law & Order” episode which swung between the detectives and the ADAs like some tennis volley in Hell. It began with an investigation into alleged sales of Democratic nominations for local office. That led to Clarence Norman, then Dem Party leader and assemblyman. In the four years since, one of the odd fruits of their labors was uncovering a link between Norman and a divorce attorney who was turned, wired, and eventually burned Garson, getting him to offer ex parte advice on how to frame his brief, guaranteeing him a win in the case before him.

What was revealed was the rather banal and meager nature of the Judge’s slide. He was convicted of providing the aforementioned advice for accepting free meals and drinks, giving court assignments and even “free range of the judge’s robbing room.” Exactly how plum that is may be open to question, but not without substantial value to the 100+ protesters and women’s groups who showed up at sentencing. They were there to express their outrage over this as an expression of the “old boy’s club” still being in full force and to offer support to the woman whose rigged trial proved to be Garson’s Waterloo.

How dearly were these favors were sold? The most money that changed hands was $1,000, for two referral fees. In this light, the fall from grace appears to be worse for being so cheap. Perhaps this is what galled the Judge’s Judge so much. It must have been obvious that Garson’s drinking problem was a factor; the defense offering a major mitigation, the State a minor one. In any case, the plea also considered his bladder cancer and heart problems…but not very much. While the Court felt these circumstances would have made him a “slam dunk” for probation, for any other defendant, this one couldn’t go there.

“A judge must be the Lone Ranger, “ and, “as pure as snow,” said the sentencing judge. However, whatever sympathy Garson might’ve had evaporated as he’d already spurned a plea deal that would’ve capped his prison time at 16 months. After that, the test of the empathy goes out from this Bench to the other robes, “and especially the Judges of Brooklyn.”

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