New York Post
July 25, 2002

MENACE IN ROBES

See also news story and Steve Dunleavy's column

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Cropper is not only a hypocrite, she's dangerous to boot.

It's time for her to go.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch said it best: "Judge Cropper is wrong and [so is] any other judge that has the same mindset as this. It must change now. This judge should not be on the bench. It is extremely important that this judge should not be sitting on the bench if that's her opinion."

The "this" is Cropper's bizarre decision last week ordering undercover cops to reveal their identities in open court — or risk having drug cases thrown out.

That is, to place themselves (and, arguably, their families) at risk for retaliation from the drug lords — or stand by as the dealers walk free.

Of course, when it comes to her own safety, the jurist can't be too careful. When a Post photographer appeared Monday, she ducked out of her courtroom covered up with a floppy hat and sunglasses, cordoned off by a security detail.

Publicity for thee, but not for me, Judge Cropper?

Let's be frank: The jurist's decision would endanger brave men and women who seek only to protect the city.

Does she not understand that infiltrating a drug ring is dangerous business? More likely, she just doesn't care that a cop whose identity becomes known is most likely not long for this world.

Undercover officers are almost always permitted to testify anonymously (or with an alias or shield number) to preserve their effectiveness, while safeguarding their lives and those of their families.

Manhattan prosecutors now have two weeks to launch an appeal — or a drug dealer goes free.

They should do so right away.

Otherwise, one judge's decision may single-handedly destroy the ability of cops to engage in undercover work.

Which would mean a big win for the bad guys.

And that's something that can't be tolerated in New York City.

Not now.

Not ever.

In the meantime, after 28 years on the job, it's quite obvious that Judge Cropper's time has come.

Time, that is, to take a hike.