New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg [official website] on Saturday asked the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] to vacate the decisions of US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ordered sweeping changes to the New York Police Department (NYPD) [official website]stop-and-frisk program [text]. It is speculated [NYT report] that Bloomberg seeks to ensure that Scheindlin's changes to the program are permanently prevented before he leaves office. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio [personal website] has indicated that he would drop the city's appeal [Reuters report] when he takes office in January, allowing Scheindlin's changes to come into effect.
Criticism of NYPD's stop-and-frisk procedure revolves primarily around the relevant racial issues involved [JURIST op-ed]. Critics claim the procedures are unconstitutional [JURIST op-ed] because they unfairly target minorities, who are disproportionately selected for stops and searches. Other criticisms indicate that the procedure itself is unwieldy and ineffective [JURIST op-ed], emphasizing quantity of searches over their quality and resulting in an unnecessary drain on department time and resources. In the period between 2004 and 2011 only 1.5 percent of the 2.3 million searches conducted revealed an illegal weapon. In August, Scheindlin ruled on behalf of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] that the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy was unconstitutional as executed, and ordered sweeping changes to the program. Scheindlin later denied [JURIST report] Bloomberg's motion to stay her order. The Second Circuit issued a stay and preliminary injunction [opinion] on the changes, stating that Scheindlin "ran afoul of the Code of Conduct of United States Judges." However, court said the injunction would have no impact [Reuters report] on its consideration of the merits of the case, and it would only remand to a different trial court judge if necessary.