The Right Coast

December 06, 2004
Justice Delayed
By Mike Rappaport

The New York Times has a story on District Judge Daniels, who is clearly a bad judge:

They are kept in federal courthouses across the United States, although, understandably, they are not prominently displayed: lists of cases that have dragged on for months or even years, often because a judge has failed to make a key ruling.

But there is one unchallenged king of delayed decisions: Judge George B. Daniels of Federal District Court in Manhattan, who, the latest statistics show, had 289 motions in civil cases pending for more than six months, by far the highest total of any federal judge in the nation.

For some plaintiffs, the waits have seemed like forever.There was the woman in Queens who had to fend off creditors while she waited more than three years for the judge to decide that she was entitled to her late ex-husband's pension benefits. And there was the prisoner with H.I.V. who filed a petition challenging his state court conviction. By the time Judge Daniels got around to issuing an order - three years later - the prisoner had died.

The judge's total is more than 100 ahead of the second-ranked judge, who is from South Carolina and has 171. On the Manhattan federal bench, Judge Daniels has more than three times the number of these motions than the next judge, who has 91.
Obviously, some action needs to be taken to address this type of problem (although the bad publicity is surely a step in the right direction). The New York Times, though, is up to its old tricks. It notes that Judge Daniels "joined the bench in April 2000" which makes him a Clinton appointee, but no mention is made of this fact in the article. Had the appointment been made by President Reagan, Bush 41 or Bush 43, there is little doubt that the Times would have made much of it.