New York Daily News Speaks Out Against Corruption

NY Daily News Speaks Out Against Court Corruption

Once again, The New York Daily News takes the lead in exposing the rampant corruption in our New York courts. We cheer the NY Daily News for their Saturday, May 12, 2007 editorial:

Gone but not forgotten

Editorial

Those rare instances when a hack loses a judgeship that was procured only by virtue of party loyalty are cause for celebration. Today we cheer the departure from the bench of one such slug, Frank Seddio, who stepped down yesterday just a year and 131 days into what he hoped would be a 14-year term.

Seddio packed it in rather than risk formal removal by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, which is in the thick of probing his affairs. The agency took an interest in Seddio after this page accused him of violating the canons of ethics regarding the use and misuse of campaign funds.

Based on what we discovered in filings of this former Brooklyn Democratic assemblyman, we predicted that “Seddio could go down as having had one of the shortest judgeships in New York history.” How true, how true. Pardon our gloating.
Now that he’s gone, it’s worth retelling the story of Seddio’s rise and fall because it is so revealing of the disgraceful way judges are made in New York. From time immemorial, Brooklyn has been served by one surrogate judge, who handles wills and estates and is a patronage font for the party machine. And, in fact, Brooklyn needs only one such judge.

But, from out of nowhere in the final moments of the 2005 legislative session, then-Gov. George Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno rushed through a big judge-making deal giving posts to the Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx Democrats, as well as to GOP leaders upstate.

The Brooklyn machine – and not the voters – was given the power to select the new surrogate. Assemblyman Joe Lentol was their pick, but he had the good sense in the end to decline. Next up was Seddio, a longtime party man whose Assembly bio depicted him as “best known for his elaborate Christmas display that surrounds his home each year, which is visited by thousands.”

Seddio’s only judicial experience had been as a judge of the Queen of Coney Island beauty pageant, but he was a lawyer – and he had $50,000 in campaign funds to spread around. Which he did. Which was against the rules. As we pointed out.
Incorrigible to the end, Seddio wrote in his resignation letter: “It is my hope that during my tenure I have been able to improve the image of the court.” Good grief.

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