NYTimes Endorses Crocker-Snyder for Manhattan DA

The New York Times today endorsed Leslie Crocker-Snyder for District Attorney over Robert Morganthau.

There are some aspects of Ms. Snyder's record that give us pause. Unlike Mr. Morgenthau, she supports the death penalty.

Robert Morganthau, now 85, has been the District Attorney in Manhattan since 1975. In May, former state supreme court justice and current NBC legal analyst Leslie Crocker Snyder announced she would run against Morganthau in the Democratic Primary this November.

Snyder ... spoke yesterday of further reform of the Rockefeller drug laws and alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders.
Snyder's campaign chairwoman, former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, said Snyder would cooperate more with other law enforcement agencies in the fight against terrorism. Snyder has claimed Morgenthau does not work well with others.

George Arzt, a spokesman for Morgenthau's campaign, downplayed Snyder's announcement. "There's a clear choice between Bob Morgenthau, who has helped bring down crime in Manhattan to historic lows and has led the fight against the death penalty, and pro-death-penalty Leslie Crocker Snyder," he said. "We are confident Manhattan voters will make the right choice."

Morgenthau says his prosecutors already make 700 annual visits to schools to combat drugs, gangs and guns. He says he also has a community outreach office in Harlem and helped reform the Rockefeller laws.

All the lawyers I know who know Judge Crocker Snyder like her. I've never met her in person but I've liked her when I've debated her on tv. She's smart, She will push for further reform of the draconian Rockefellar drug laws, which is very high up on my list of priorities. She's very much in the here and now.

But, I don't think I can get over her support for the death penalty. Robert Morganthau opposes it. The battle to defeat the death penalty in New York was a close one this year.

Crocker-Snyder is smart and tough. But, so is Jeanine Pirro. In the final analysis, I think they are both wrong for public office.

< Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot | Site Comment Problems - Comments are Open today >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • I am a public defense attorney in New York City at the appellate level. My office has worked on many cases in which Crocker Snyder presided. To put it bluntly, she was the worst of the worst when it came to judges. She was not simply pro-prosecution. She was actively hostile to the defense and showed utter contempt for defendants. In one case that I worked on in which I raised a judicial misconduct claim, she GAVE ADVICE TO THE PROSECUTOR DURING THE TRIAL AS TO WHICH EVIDENCE SHE SHOULD SUBMIT AND WHICH THEORIES TO PURSUE. Never seen anything like it. Crocker Snyder also rehabilitated the prosecutor's witnesses during the defense cross-examination. Ridiculous stuff. She also inevitably imposed the maximum sentence on almost all of our clients, even the drug defendants for whom she supposedly has so much sympathy. Indeed, our experience contradicts her public statements in which she said that she only imposed the maximum sentences on violent criminals. Not true at all. I have met her at a legal event and we had a nice conversation. She seems like a nice person. However, she was a horrible judge. Even the appellate court (which has a reversal rate in criminal defense cases in New York County of less than 2%) does not like her, and has criticized her in the past. See People v. Claudio, 10 A.D.3d 531 (1st Dept. 2004); People v. Goldman, 9 A.D.3d 283 (1st Dept. 2004); People v. Ingram, 2 A.D.3d 211 (2003); People v. De Los Angeles, 270 A.D.2d 196 (1st Dept. 2000); People v. Walker, 250 A.D.2d 371 (1st Dept. 1998). Her pro-death penalty position is simply another reason to find her a bad candidate. She would make a terrible DA for New York City. Please don't read this as an endorsement of Morgenthau. I don't care for him much either, even though I know that he is for the most part a kind and decent person. But his recent over-prosecution of peaceful political protestors left a horrible taste in my mouth. For people like me, there is a choice between two bad candidates here in New York City. Pretty depressing.

    I was on the jury for a trial Ms. Snyder presided over in 1998. The trial was of four Lower East Side gang members (three charged with two counts of murder and other multiple drug charges and one charged with a minor drug charge). The trial lasted about 3 months. I found Judge Snyder to be fair to both the defense and prosecution in this case. She also treated the jury with respect but was firm when any jury members were tardy. The jury convicted the four defendants on most of the serious charges, save some drug charges which the prosecution failed to provide proof beyond a resonable doubt. About a year after the trial ended I ran into the lawyer (in the park) for the defendant facing just the drug charges that was convicted. The lawyer indicated that he received a reduce sentence while the three convicted of murder received the maximum. Just wanted to provide an alternative view on a judge I was very impressed with.