Gee Whiz, you go out of town for a couple of days and everything changes.
Surprise No. 1, Ken Lammers blogger extrodinaire (Crim Law blog) and one of the first guys to cross link this blog, has announced that he is switching sides and going over to a prosecutor's office. The change will very likely bring on at least subtle changes in his blog. More likely it will bring big changes. I am not crazy about change but if you read about his decision to switch, you will see that economically he had little choice. The Defense bar has lost a good friend in Va. Moreover, his reasons for leaving points out how important it is to properly compensate indigent defense counsel.
Surprise No. 2, Another loss to the criminal justice system, this time closer to home, is the announcement that Nassau District Court Judge Ken Gartner is leaving the bench less than a year after being re-elected. I have been told the decision is reflective of the good judge's need to earn more money to support his young family. The NY state legislature's failure to pass much needed judicial raises is causing us to lose strong judges who have experience and training. If we do not soon see a pay raise, we will have a bench of burned out lawyers who couldn't make the salary in private practice or really rich lawyers who have no need for money but crave the power. Lazy and/or power crazy judges are the last thing we need. Ken Gartner has written a number of really good decisions (two of which I have blogged about here and here. I will miss appearing before him. He was often on the cutting edge of the law. Judge Gartner should be moving up to the state Supreme court, not looking to take off the robes and return to practice. LISTEN UP ALBANY... PASS A JUDICIAL PAY RAISE AND STOP SCREWING WITH THE COURTS!!!!
In the meantime, I wish both of these fine lawyers much luck with their future endeavors.