Hope Against Court Corruption Has Arrived. Her Name is Ann T. Pfau.

Hope Against Court Corruption Has Arrived. Her Name is Ann T. Pfau.

Hope in the Fight Against Corruption in Our Courts Has Arrived. Her Name is Ann T. Pfau.

It was announced on Friday, May 25, 2007, that Ann T. Pfau would take over as New York State’s Chief Administrative Judge, effective immediately.

Albany insiders report that the appointment, though largely welcomed, is somewhat surprising since Judge Pfau is not the traditional “inside player.” One state employee said, “Judge Pfau is probably one of only a few people who can correct the widespread problems and abuses in our courts. Someone like Ann Pfau is long-overdue.”

Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s appointment comes at the end of a week when The Westchester Guardian reported on a request for a criminal investigation involving the alleged improper actions of Westchester County Surrogate Anthony A. Scarpino and New York City Administrative Judge Jacqueline W. Silbermann.

Another Albany insider says, “Even Chief Judge Kaye is ready for a shake-up, and Judge Pfau is the person who can get the job done. Judith Kaye doesn’t want to be remembered as being the top person over the type of wide-spread abuse and corruption that would make Boss Tweed blush. It’s about the Kaye legacy at this point.”

One top state official said, “the appointment of Judge Pfau has [Governor] Spitzer’s and [Attorney General] Cuomo’s fingerprints all over it. [Judge] Pfau is how the Governor and the A.G. clean up the mess in the courts.”

As nice as the name Ann T. Pfau sounds, it’s been around for a few years.

As Sam Roberts reported on March 2, 2006 (New York Times: “State Bars a Bronx Lawyer From Receiving Court Appointments”), it was First Deputy Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau who permanently barred Bronx political heavy-weight Stanley K. Schlein from ever accepting Guardianship and other high-paying judicial appointments.

And the name Ann T. Pfau comes up in a February 23, 2002 New York Times article (“Another Brooklyn Judge Said to Be Reassigned”) as taking action in a Brooklyn State Supreme Court bribe scandal, and where the ethical actions of 5 other judges were being investigated. While censuring one judge, the Commission on Judicial Conduct commented that one judge showed “remarkable insensitivity to his ethical responsibilities.”

And, most heart-warmingly, is the sound of the name Ann T. Pfau as presented in a November 11, 2003 New York Times Metro Briefing (“New York: Brooklyn: Administrative Judge Promoted”) announcing her appointment as First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, noting that Judge Pfau was then brought in to oversee the corruption probes in the Brooklyn courts, which included her overseeing investigators’ placement of hidden cameras to catch corrupt judges.

Note to Judge Pfau: Honest judges cheer your appointment; honest lawyers cheer your appointment; and honest state employees cheer your appointment. Your employees, the public and the rule of law have been waiting for you.

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