Vincent Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor, said the lack of verified facts in the conflict and the broad discretion attorneys general have in how to act make judgments about Schneiderman's role difficult.
"It's all very murky and a lot of it is because he's not talking and some of the people who are talking don't seem to be making it any clearer," he said. Bonventre noted some commissioners, including co-chairman William Fitzpatrick, were quoted by the Times in private emails complaining about interference by Cuomo, yet publicly say there was none.
"But if there was something that pretty clearly ought to be investigated because it was suspicious, he should have investigated it," Bonventre said of Schneiderman. "What isn't clear is exactly what was going on. Fitzpatrick says everything was wonderful. But we're pretty sure everything wasn't wonderful."
From the article "Moreland controversy becomes issue in AG's race
" in Newsday
on July 29, 2014.
Albany Law School professor Vincent Bonventre said he doesn’t expect Cuomo or his aides would face obstruction of justice charges or other legal problems for simply trying to control the panel.
“But if he or anybody in his office interfered with subpoenas, with the activities of the commission, to cover possible crimes of corruption, that’s not legally permissible,” he said.
From the article "Moreland Commission members being made deputy attorneys general could come back to bite Cuomo
" by the New York Daily News
on July 25, 2014.
Professor Vincent Bonventre appeared as a guest on Time Warner Cable News' Capital Tonight to discuss recent court decisions related to the Affordable Healthcare Act on July 22, 2014.
Professor Vincent Bonventre talked about recent Supreme Court decisions with Susan Arbetter on the Capitol Pressroom on June 30, 2014. The same day, Professor Bonventre was also a guest on Time Warner Cable News' Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin.
"You need somebody with wisdom," said Vincent Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor who favors extending the retirement age. "We just lose too many of the very best judges when they're hitting their stride."
From the article "Just warming up at 70?" in the Times Union on Oct. 19, 2013.
Professor Vincent Bonventre was interviewed
about the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action at colleges and universities for YNN
on June 24, 2013.
Vincent Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor, notes that Gov. Mario Cuomo replaced the lone black judge in 1992 with another African-American. Bonventre says Abdus-Salaam has been a "strong" midlevel court jurist who is "moderately liberal."
From the article "Cuomo watch: Court picks maintain diversity
" in Newsday
on April 7, 2013.
According to New York Court Watcher, a blog maintained by Professor Vincent Bonventre of Albany Law School, the list of seven potential nominees includes three blacks; three women; four appellate judges; three private litigators; one openly gay attorney; six candidates from New York City and one from Buffalo; and no academics, Hispanics, Asians or Republicans.
From the article "Most Bar Groups Ever Size Up Seven Candidates to Fill Vacancy
" in the New York Law Journal
on March 22, 2013.
The newly partisan tone was evident in the confirmation hearings for Mr. Cuomo's first nominee for the Court of Appeals, Jenny Rivera, who was questioned for hours over two days before being approved on a party-line Judiciary Committee vote. Ms. Rivera is expected to be confirmed in a floor vote, but the intense hearing was unusual, said Albany Law School professor Vincent Bonventre.
"Senate judiciary hearings in New York state have been a waste of time in the past. Usually they're nothing more than rubber-stamping whoever the governor sends before them," Mr. Bonventre said.
From the article "GOP Rebels as Cuomo Shifts Left
" in The Wall Street Journal
on Feb. 5, 2013.
Albany Law School Professor Vincent Bonventre, who has written and commented on the court, said Rivera brings with her a "paper trail of scholarship devoted to domestic violence, feminist jurisprudence, equality and the upward mobility" of Hispanics.
"This is someone who might fall into the category of critical legal theorist or critical legal feminist, somebody who looks at these issues…from a very, very different angle," Bonventre said. "There just isn't any question in my mind that if the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee read her stuff, some of them will be a little uncomfortable with it, not because there is anything 'bad' in there, but it may be a kind of scholarship they are not used to. It is the kind of legal scholarship that says in society, in the legal profession, this is what is happening to women, this is what is happening to Latinas at home, and the law is not addressing it."
From the article "CUNY Law's Rivera Named to Fill Ciparick Seat
" in the New York Law Journal
on Jan. 16, 2013.
But Albany Law School professor Vincent Bonventre said Cuomo hasn’t shown much of an ideological hand in his nominations.
“If he’s like his dad, he won’t stick to just liberal Democratic appointments,” said Bonventre. “His dad appointed as many Republicans as Democrats and as many conservatives as liberals.
“Certainly, he’s been interested in diversity, like his dad was,” Bonventre added, noting that the younger Cuomo made Randall Eng the state’s first Asian-American presiding judge for the Appellate Division, one step below the Court of Appeals.
From the article "Andy can court all new judges" in the New York Post on Jan. 1, 2013.
Cuomo, if elected to a second term in 2014, would be able to appoint all seven members of the court during his tenure. The other five members would either reach retirement age or the end of their 14-year terms during Cuomo's second term, said Vincent Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor who follows the court.
Bonventre said former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, added conservative-leaning judges during his three terms from 1993 through 2006. Pataki's predecessor, Democrat Mario Cuomo, and the current governor's father, appointed judges with a mix of views, Bonventre said.
"Is he going to be like Pataki and stick with his own ideology and own party, or is he going to be pick from both sides of the ideology and partisan line?" Bonventre said of the current governor. "He's going to have plenty of opportunity."
From the article "List of Judges For State's Highest Court Sent to Cuomo" by Gannett News Service on Dec. 8, 2012.
Professor Vincent Bonventre talked about the Supreme Court and same-sex marriage in an interview on YNN's Capital Tonight that aired Dec. 10, 2012.
Court watchers contacted by Law360 agreed Tuesday that, while lower courts in New York sometimes refer generally to the Legislature's role in setting policy, the state's highest court rarely gets into that kind of detail.
"It's very out of the ordinary and I'm sure it's borne from the fact that Chief Judge Lippman likely hates this outcome," Albany Law School professor Vincent M. Bonventre said.
Bonventre said that Lippman and the other Court of Appeals judges wrote an opinion that is "faithful to court precedent" — including Valdez v. City of New York — which requires plaintiffs to establish the existence of a special duty of care owed to them by the state.
From the Law360.com article "Tragedy Prompts Top NY Court To Back Marine Insurance Bill" on Dec. 5, 2012.
"What can you complain about with this list?" asked Vincent Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor and veteran court watcher who has complained about plenty of lists in the past. "If you want people with judicial experience, you've got it. If you want diversity, you've got it. If you want women, you've got it. From their educational background to their career experience, it is a very strong list and different kind of list."
From the article "Experts Point to Experience, Diversity of Candidates on List" by the New York Law Journal on Dec. 4, 2012.
In 2008, Albany Law School professor and former Court of Appeals clerk Vincent Bonventre wrote on his blog, New York Court Watcher, that the percentage of criminal decisions that favored defendants nearly doubled in the 18 months after Jones joined the high court.
"Jones has compiled a voting record that shows strong sympathy for arguments protecting the rights of the accused," wrote Bonventre, who was not available on Tuesday.
From the article "NY Court of Appeals Judge Jones dies at 68" by Reuters on Nov. 6, 2012.
Vincent Bonventre, professor at Albany Law School and expert on the state’s highest court, said Jones was a junior judge on the court, but had written several important majority and dissenting opinions in his relatively short time of service.
. . .
“He did a lot of heavy lifting at the court,” Bonventre said. “He was a guy with a lot of guts.”
From the article "State high court judge dies of heart attack" in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Nov. 6, 2012.
“I honestly think that the court was troubled by the lack of evidence,” Michael Hutter, a professor of law at Albany Law School, said of Thursday’s decision.
Vincent Bonventre, a professor of law at Albany Law School who studies the Court of Appeals, said Malone “stuck his neck out” with his dissent, which ultimately drove the decision by the state’s highest court.
“He had the guts to say what was wrong with it, and he got every single vote on the Court of Appeals. That’s quite a statement,” he said. “Really in large measure, it’s because Judge Malone wrote such a strong dissenting opinion at the Appellate Division and really caught their attention.”
“It looks as though this is is a 6-1 decision; it’s actually 7-0 that the conviction should be thrown out,” Bonventre said. “One of the judges said that the conviction is so bad that the prosecution should not be even be allowed to get another trial. You rarely see something like that."
However, Hutter said the other six judges may have indeed been swayed by concerns Malone raised about the adequacy of the evidence, but stopped short of actually ruling the evidence was insufficient.
“I think they were reluctant to say that the evidence was insufficient,” Hutter said. “Judges are reluctant to substitute their views for the jury. Sometimes, when they reverse murder convictions it’s because of technical errors, things like that, substantive errors. They don’t always like to reverse for insufficiencies.”
According to Hutter, the Court of Appeals hears about 90 criminal cases a year, and upholds the convictions in about 75 percent of them. An overturned murder case is uncommon, but not unheard of.
“I think that Judge Malone’s decision is right on the money,” he added. “This is a very questionable case.”
However, Hutter of Albany Law School said he’s doubtful the third trial will lead to a different result unless it is reviewed by a different kind of jury.
“The same evidence is going to be used again,” he said. “And quite frankly, unless the defense counsel can pull a sympathetic jury, I’m sure there’s going to be another conviction. I think making the correction of the two (trial) errors here is not going to mean anything, unless you get a different pair of eyes that look at this.”
From the article "Appellate court judge may have played key role in overturning Cal Harris' conviction" in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Oct. 20.
Vincent Bonventre, Professor of Law at Albany Law School, said the state’s highest court does, from time to time, reverse murder convictions. But its decision on the Harris case is remarkable, he said, in that the entire court agreed.
“The Court of Appeals didn’t even view this as a close case,” he said. “That’s what’s unusual.”
From the article "Cal Harris murder conviction reversed; third trial ordered" in the Binghamton, N.Y., Press & Sun-Bulletin on Oct. 18.
Professor Vincent Bonventre was interviewed
on YNN's Capital Tonight
to preview the forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court term on Oct. 1.
“Nobody has any idea what he is going to do,” said Vincent Bonventre, professor at Albany Law School and expert on the state court. “But Governor Cuomo is a brilliant politician, and certainly, like all governors, politics will play a huge part in his selection.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to try to score political points by putting somebody totally incompetent on the court,” Bonventre said of the first-term governor. “But politics will play at least as much a part of his decision as merit — that’s just reality.”
From the article "Several vacancies upcoming on New York state's high court" in the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle on July 16.
“These two cases might create the perfect opportunity for the Court
of Appeals” to wade into the controversy over police tactics, said
Vincent Bonventre, an expert on the court who is a professor at Albany
Professor Bonventre said it seemed the majority in the Manhattan
appeals court rulings was announcing what amounted to a new policy: “We
are going to start looking at these stop-and-frisks a lot more closely.”
From the article "Courts Putting Stop-and-Frisk Policy on Trial" in The New York Times on July 10.
But regardless of timing, the points are valid, said Vincent
Bonventre, law professor at Albany (N.Y.) Law School who believes the
law should be upheld.
"The conservatives' own philosophy suggests they should uphold
Obamacare," Bonventre said. Respect for court precedents and deference
to elected officials are "fundamental principles of conservative
From the article "Obama echoes conservatives on 'activist' court" in the San Francisco Chronicle and other Hearst Newspapers on April 8.
Vincent M. Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor, called the ruling “a big step.”
“The kind of evidence, which in the past people relied on more heavily than anything else, now the Court of Appeals is saying, ‘Yeah, we understand a lot of these confessions might be false,’ ” he said.
Professor Vincent Bonventre was interviewed by YNN's Capital Tonight on Jan. 24 about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of United States v. Jones, which decided that using a GPS device to track a suspect did constitute a search. Professor Bonventre explained the ruling and the impact that it could have on other cases.