New York Daily News

September 19, 2013


Ivy League law professors to help implement stop-and-frisk reforms

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin has appointed a dozen members — including six from Ivy League schools — to help implement reforms to the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk.

By Daniel Beekman

The eggheads are watching.

The judge forcing the NYPD to reform its controversial stop-and-frisk practices has handpicked a dozen academics to help implement the changes, it was announced Wednesday.

The members of the Academic Advisory Council tapped to weigh in on street stops are all law professors — some with a history of speaking out against Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD practices.

“There is no strong evidence at all indicating that stop-and-frisk is effective, despite the fact that Mayor Bloomberg and the chief of police have explained it to be so,” Yale Law School’s Tracey Meares said Aug. 22 on MSNBC.

Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin had already appointed a monitor to oversee the reforms — and a facilitator to engage cops and New Yorkers during the process. But monitor Peter Zimroth and the facilitator, Vera Institute of Justice President Nicholas Turner, will need backup, she said.

“To help the facilitator and the monitor in their challenging tasks, I am appointing an Academic Advisory Council,” the judge wrote. The council’s “professors have generously agreed to provide their expertise in a pro bono capacity.”

The city, which is appealing Scheindlin’s Aug. 12 decision against the NYPD, said it was not consulted about the council.

Half of the group’s members hail from Ivy League institutions.

Bennett Capers of Brooklyn Law School will head the council. Other members hail from places including Columbia Law School, Yale and the City University of New York Law School.

“I don’t come from an ivory tower,” said retired Brooklyn Law Prof. William Hellerstein. “I was in charge of the appeals bureau at the Legal Aid Society. My involvement with police is not abstract.”

Hellerstein said the court-appointed reforms are needed.

“I don’t think you have to be a Rhodes scholar to know there have been abuses,” he said.

A spokeswoman said Scheindlin would not comment on how she chose the professors.

But the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association dismissed the notion that such a group is needed.

“You don’t need a van-load of academics to solve the problem. Just properly staff and fund the Police Department and end illegal quotas and the issue will be resolved,” said the PBA’s Patrick Lynch.