Scott Shifrel, New York Daily News, June 14th, 2006
There goes the judge.
The state’s highest court booted controversial Queens Supreme Court Justice Laura Blackburne from the bench yesterday, citing her “rash and reckless decision” to help a robbery suspect evade arrest.
In a 5-to-2 ruling, the Court of Appeals in Albany said Blackburne had “placed herself above the law she was sworn to administer, thereby bringing the judiciary into disrepute and undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of her court.”
Her “dangerous actions exceeded all measure of acceptable judicial conduct,” the judges added.
The sacking ended a career in public marked by missteps — including frequent clashes with law enforcement during her years on the bench.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, hailed the ruling.
“The New York State Court of Appeals has done the people of New York City a great service by permanently removing Laura Blackburne, a notorious cophater,” Lynch said.
The panel wanted her canned for telling a court officer to escort robbery suspect Derek Sterling out a rear door to an elevator reserved for judges and out of the sight of a detective waiting for him.
Blackburne was presiding over a Queens drug treatment court on June 10, 2004, when Detective Leonard Devlin asked to question Sterling about a violent robbery. Believing Devlin was using “a ruse,” as Blackburne put it, she instead had Sterling escorted out a backdoor. Sterling was later arrested at a drug treatment center but, ultimately, was cleared of the robbery charges.