New York City’s “stop and frisk” policy — under which NYC police engaged in pat down searches of individuals with little or no reasonable suspicion — has been tremendously controversial. Even after the 2013 ruling by a United States District Judge that the practice was unconstitutional, the controversy continued with an appeal by the City and subsequent attacks on the judge’s impartiality. However, recent action by the new mayoral administration in the city may finally bring a definitive end to the practice.
In January of 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his intention to drop the City’s appeal concerning Floyd v. City of New York. This case was a broad legal challenge to the constitutionality of “stop and frisk” brought against the city in 2008 in which the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York determined the practice was unconstitutional. In the intervening six years, the case has taken numerous turns:
- On August 12, 2013, after a nine-week bench trial, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin issued a decision and order finding the “stop and frisk” practice to be unconstitutional. The City appealed soon after.
- In October 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit removed Judge Scheindlin from the case, finding she had failed to act with impartiality and that she also temporarily stayed the effectiveness of her order.
- In November, the City requested that Judge Scheindlin’s ruling be prevented from taking effect until the Second Circuit could make a final ruling on the appeal. The Second Circuit refused.
- In November, then mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio announced he would drop the City’s appeal, if elected.
Unfortunately, hundreds, if not thousands, of New Yorkers have already been subjected to arrest and prosecution and the humiliation that comes with such a search, even without arrest. If you believe you have been subject to such an illegal search and are facing charges, a New York criminal defense attorney may be able to help. See our page on what happens after being charged with a crime.