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'Stop-and-frisk' lawyers seek return of judge removed from case

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Lawyers for plaintiffs seeking to end New York City's contested stop and frisk policy say they want Manhattan federal judge Shira Scheindlin back on the bench.

The lawyers say her removal from the case Oct. 31 by the Second Circuit of Appeals was done by "a perfect storm of procedural irregularity," the New York Post reported Monday.

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In removing Scheindlin, the appellate court said her impartiality "ran afoul" of judicial ethics by giving media interviews in the middle of the trial over which she was presiding.

She ruled against the city's stop-and-frisk policy in August, charging it illegally targeted minorities. She ordered the appointment of an outside monitor to oversee application of the program.

Late last week, attorneys for the city asked the appellate court to throw out Scheindlin's ruling in light of her removal.

In requesting Scheindlin's return to the case, Baher Army, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, charged judges of the Second Circuit "cast aspersions upon the professional conduct of one of the most respected members of the federal judiciary — and thus inappropriately cast doubt on her legal rulings — while itself taking an unprecedented step that no party requested, of which no party was notified, and without providing the parties an opportunity to be heard."

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Last week, five prominent attorneys from across the country filed paperwork with the appeals court seeking Scheindlin's return. They charged her disqualification "raises troubling issues" because none of the parties had asked for her removal. They also noted the judge had not been given a chance to defend herself.

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