B.S., Union CollegeJ.D., Brooklyn Law SchoolM.A.P.A., University of VirginiaPh.D., University of Virginia
Clerked for Judges Matthew J. Jasen and Stewart F. Hancock Jr. of the New York State Court of Appeals. Held U.S. Supreme Court Judicial Fellowship. Served in U.S. Army Military Intelligence and Judge Advocate General's Corps. Joined Albany Law School in 1990. Has taught as a visiting professor at Syracuse University College of Law and the Maxwell School of Public Affairs. Author of "Streams of Tendency" on the New York Court:Ideological and Jurisprudential Patterns in the Judges' Voting and Opinions (W.S. Hein). Published recent articles on judicial decision making, state constitutional law, criminal and civil rights, legal ethics, and New York Court of Appeals. Founding editor-in-chief, Government, Law, & Policy Journal (New York State Bar Association). Editor, State Constitutional Commentary and director, The Center for Judicial Process.
Prof. Bonventre is also the author of New York Court Watcher, a blog devoted to commentary on developments at the Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals, and other state supreme courts nationwide. And he is the founder and Director of the Center for Judicial Process.
Many of his publications can be accessed at SSRN.
The Center for Judicial Process is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to the interdisciplinary research and study of courts and judges, including decision-making and voting, the judicial role and selection, and other facets of the judicial process. The Center's mission is to encourage such research and study and to provide a forum for publication.
The organization of the Center, as well as the research and study undertaken and published, is intended to be primarily the work of students. It is operated by a staff of students of Albany Law School, under the direction of Albany Law School Professor Vincent Martin Bonventre. The Center, however, welcomes law students and law-related graduate students nationwide to participate in the work of the Center and to contribute research and study of the judicial process for publication.
Ultimately, the Center's aim in encouraging and publishing judicial research and studies is to serve as a valuable educational resource for the academic community, public officials, journalists, and the public at large.
Taylor Law Conference [PPT], 5/16/08: "Public Sector Labor Law in the Kaye Court"
Rockefeller Institute [PPT], 10/15/07: "NY Court of Appeals: The Judges, Selection & Making of the Current Court"
NYS Legislative CLE [PPT], 12/14/06: "The Pataki Court"
Rockefeller Institute [PPT], 11/06: "The Court of Appeals: 'Non-Political Merit' Appointment"
New York Court of Appeals Criminal Law Update [PPT], 11/05
The Cornell PowerPoint Presentation [PPT] -- i.e., The NYSBA Criminal Justice Section Fall Meeting at Cornell University, 11/08/03
Defense Bar Considers Rosenblatt The 'Swing' Vote on Criminal Justice Issues By John Caher
....as the 69-year-old judge heads into his last year on the bench before mandatory retirement, there is a recognition in the defense community that with the increasingly polarized Court of Appeals...Judge Rosenblatt's vote is crucial....
[T]he New York State Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section.... were joined by Albany Law School Professor Vincent M. Bonventre, who for the last 15 years has tracked the voting patterns of Court of Appeals judges.
The professor's research, presented at the Bar Association event, validated statistically what other panelists noted anecdotally.
Mr. Bonventre's study of voting patterns in 67 criminal cases over several years shows that:
"Wesley, Graffeo and Read never - not once - disagreed with a pro-prosecution position on the Court," Mr. Bonventre said in an interview last week. "They all have dissented, but every time it was to take a more pro-prosecution position. On the other hand, Rosenblatt never disagreed with a pro-defendant position of the Court. Not once. Every single time the Court decided in favor of the rights of the accused, Rosenblatt was with the Court. Every time he disagreed, he took a position more protective of the rights of the accused. I find that staggering."
Still, Mr. Bonventre said, Judge Rosenblatt is hardly "the poster judge for the rights of the accused, like his predecessor," the late Vito J. Titone, who served from 1985 to 1998.
"Titone was by far the most pro defendant, liberal judge on the Court," Mr. Bonventre said. "Rosenblatt is not that. His voting is not nearly as liberal as Titone's, but it is also nothing like the other Pataki appointees - Wesley, Graffeo and Read. He is the non Pataki judge."
Packed dockets hinder justice - Watchdog group says Schenectady County needs 2nd county judge By ANNE MILLER
The Schenectady County courthouse is overwhelmed. The caseload is so heavy that a statewide watchdog group has singled out the county as desperately in need of another full-time county judge. [But] Rensselaer County snagged an additional county judge in the last round of new judicial postings. The county has some need, but it's also home to the state Senate majority leader.
"That's insane -- but that's politics," said professor Vincent Bonventre, of Albany Law School. "The politicians and parties are pretty jealous of their judgeships. The politicians and parties in other counties don't want to part with their judges. You end up having to move them around."
In the late 1970s, the concept of moving judges to help in busy courts was hatched under Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lawrence H. Cooke, who desperately needed judges in New York City. The rural judges revolted, unwilling to forsake their quiet homes for a week in the Bronx courts....
Rarely does the Legislature create new judgeships two years running...."To create a bunch of judgeships and come back again and create a bunch of other judgeships -- that's not likely," Bonventre said.
Obituary: Judge Vito J. Titone Jr. By John Caher
Vito J. Titone Jr. - a Staten Island judge who proudly carried the banner of liberalism in a long career that concluded with 13 years on the Court of Appeals - died Wednesday night, a day after his 76th birthday. He had long struggled with diabetes and related health ailments....
Albany Law School Professor Vincent M. Bonventre, who clerked at the Court of Appeals during part of Judge Titone's tenure and has tracked the Court since, said Judge Titone "was the most reliable defender of constitutional rights against government abuse."
Mr. Bonventre added that Judge Titone "really believed that the primary function of courts and judges is to stand between the government and the individual. He was the most loved and loveable figure in the courthouse."
Former Court of Appeals Judge Vito Titone Dies
Vito J. Titone, who served 13 years on the state's highest court and penned landmark decisions on issues ranging from child custody to police searches, has died at a nursing home in New York City. He was 76....
Vincent Bonventre, a professor at Albany Law School, said Titone stood his ground against criticism that he was too liberal from politicians such as Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
"He was just far and away the most reliable protector of constitutional rights [against] government abuse throughout his tenure on the court," Bonventre said. "Even when the court came under harsh criticism for being too liberal by politicians ... Judge Titone just dug his heels in and was steadfast. He really was remarkable."
In Reversals, Questions for Ex-Judge Challenging Morgenthau By LESLIE EATON
It was hardly an unusual moment in the career of Leslie Crocker Snyder, a New York State judge known for tough talk and long sentences, who is now running for Manhattan district attorney....Judge Snyder has historically had a very strong record of prevailing when her decisions have been appealed....[T]he Court of Appeals....which tends to focus on cases with broad legal applications, has upheld Ms. Synder in 7 out of the 11 appeals since 1988. "That's a pretty darn good record," said Vincent M. Bonventre, a professor at Albany Law School who studies the Court of Appeals.
Streams of Tendency, Hein Cite"Streams of Tendency" On the New York Court: Ideological and Jurisprudential Patterns In the Judges' Voting and Opinions (W.S. Hein, 2003)Title Page [PDF]Table of Contents [PDF]STREAMS OF TENDENCY ON THE NEW YORK COURT may be ordered directly from the publisher, W. S. HeinAmazon Order and Review/s
"STREAMS OF TENDENCY" ON THE NEW YORK COURT: IDEOLOGICAL AND JURISPRUDENTIAL PATTERNS IN THE JUDGES' VOTING AND OPINIONS (Wm.S. Hein, 2003)
The Best of New York's Court of Appeals, New York Law Journal, October 2013
Toward the Lippman Court: Flux and Transition at New York’s Court of Appeals, 73 Albany Law Review 889 (2010)
The Fall of Free Exercise: From ‘No Law’ to Compelling Interests to Any Law Otherwise Valid, 70 Albany Law Review 1150 (2008)papers.cfm
Irving Lehman in YALE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN LAW (Yale, 2008)
Cuthbert W. Pound in YALE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN LAW (Yale, 2008)
Book Review, reviewing Bernard S. Meyer, Burton C. Agata and Seth H. Agata, THE HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS, 1932-2003, 49 American Journal of Legal History 497(2007)
Changing Roles: The Supreme Court and the State High Courts in Safeguarding Rights, 70 Albany Law Review 841 (2007)papers.cfm
Appellate Division on Appeal: The Justices' Rates of Agreement, Rejection, and Vindication by the Court of Appeals, 70 Albany Law Review 983 (2007) (with Jason A. Cherna and Jessica Blain-Lewis)Bonventre.Article.pdf
Judicial Activism, Judges' Speech, and Merit Selection: Conventional Wisdom and Nonsense, 68 Albany Law Review 557 (2005)papers.cfm
Judicial Politics? What is New?, The Christian Science Monitor, September 24, 2003, at 9
Richard C. Wesley: Voting and Opinion Patterns on the New York Court, 66 Albany Law Review 1065 (2003) (with Todd A. Ritschdorff and Erika L. Bergen)
Court of Appeals Update, 2000 & 2001: Conservative Voting, Narrow Rulings, 65 Albany Law Review 1085 (2002) (with Kelly M. Galligan)
Albany Law School on the High Court, 64 Albany Law Review 1155 (2001)
ALS on the High Court, Albany Law School Magazine 18 (Spring/Summer 2001)
Public Law at the New York Court of Appeals: An Update on Developments, 2000, 64 Albany Law Review 1355 (2001) (with Amanda Hiller)
Tribute to Chief Judge Lawrence H. Cooke: 1914-2000, 64 Albany Law Review 1 (2000)
Tribute to Chief Judge Lawrence H. Cooke: 1914-2000, 2 (no.2) Government, Law & Policy Journal 8 (2000)
The Diallo Case, "People v. Boss": Panel Discussion, 63 Albany Law Review 969 (2000)
Book Review, reviewing ALL THE LAWS BUT ONE: CIVIL LIBERTIES IN WARTIME by William H. Rehnquist, 221 (no. 21) New York Law Journal 2 (Feb. 2, 1999)
Editor-in-Chief, Government, Law and Policy Journal (semiannually, vol.1- , 1999-continuing)
Editor's Foreword, Government, Law and Policy Journal (semiannually, vol.1-, 1999-continuing)
Constitutional Law: Many Constitutional Challenges Fail, 220 (no. 67) New York Law Journal S3 (Oct. 5, 1998)
Court of Appeals Bashing: Political Rhetoric, Media Hysteria, and Reality, The Defender 60 (July 1997) (with Judi De Marco)
Court of Appeals Bashing: a Reality Check, 69 (no. 5) New York State Bar Journal 10 (1997) (with Judi De Marco)
State Constitutional Jurisprudence: Decision Making at the New York Court of Appeals (State Constitutional Law: Adjudication and Reform) (Panel Discussion), 13 Touro Law Review 3 (1997)
Court Bashing and Reality: A Comparative Examination of Criminal Disposition at the New York Court of Appeals and Neighboring High Courts, 36(no.1) The Judges' Journal (American Bar Association) 8 (1997) (with Judi A. DeMarco)
Yes: Litigants Deserve a Justice with an Open Mind (A Right to Talk: Has Justice Scalia Compromised His Objectivity with a Public Remark?), 83 ABA Journal 72 (February 1997)
Editor's Foreword, State Constitutional Commentary, (special annual issue), Albany Law Review (vol. 60-, 1997-continuing)
Editors' Note, State Constitutional Commentary, (special annual issue), 59 Albany Law Review 1540 (1996) (with J. Dormer Stephen)
Editor, State Constitutional Commentary, (special annual issue), Albany Law Review (vol. 59-, 1996-continuing)
Professional Responsibility, 1994-1995 Survey of New York Law, 46 Syracuse Law Review 765 (1995)
New York and the Supremes: State Constitutional Law on the Rebound at the Court of Appeals, 5(no. 4) State Constitutional Commentaries and Notes 19 (1995)
New York's Chief Judge Kaye: Her Separate Opinions Bode Well for Renewed State Constitutionalism at the Court of Appeals, 67 Temple Law Review 1163 (1994)papers.cfm
Court of Appeals - State Constitutional Law Review, 1991, 14 Pace Law Review 353 (1994)
Changing Course at the High Court, 20 (no.3) Empire State Report 55 (1994) (with John Powell)
The New York Court of Appeals: An Old Tradition Struggles with Current Issues, 22 Perspectives on Political Science 149 (1993)
Professional Responsibility, 1992 Survey of New York Law, 44 Syracuse Law Review 453 (1993)
Religious Liberty as American History, 17 (no. 2) Update on Law-Related Education (American Bar Association) 41 (1993)papers.cfm
Foreword: Dedication to the Honorable Stewart F. Hancock, Jr., 9 Touro Law Review 545 (1993)
The Duty of Fair Representation Under the Taylor Law: Supreme Court Development, New York Adoption, and a Call for Independence, 20 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1 (1992)papers.cfm
Fair Representation Under the Taylor Law: Federal Development, State Adoption, and Prospects for Independence, in TAYLOR LAW: 25 YEARS OF PUBLIC SECTOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING (Government Law Center, Albany Law School, 1992)
Tilting the Scales of Justice, 18 (no.6) Empire State Report 21 (1992)
State Constitutional Adjudication at the Court of Appeals, 1990 and 1991: Retrenchment is the Rule, 56 Albany Law Review 119 (1992)
Professional Responsibility, 1991 Survey of New York Law, 43 Syracuse Law Review 505 (1992)
State Constitutional Recession: The New York Court of Appeals Retrenches, 4 Emerging Issues in State Constitutional Law 1 (1991)
Court of Appeals - State Constitutional Law Review, 1990, 12 Pace Law Review 1 (1991)
Police Powers and the State: National Security, Freedom and Amendments II & III, in MORE THAN MERE PARCHMENT - THE BILL OF RIGHTS (New York State Bar Association, 1991)
Professional Responsibility, 1990 Survey of New York Law, 42 Syracuse Law Review 697 (1991)
Professional Responsibility, 1989 Survey of New York Law, 41 Syracuse Law Review 475 (1990)
Beyond the Reemergence: "Inverse Incorporation" and Other Prospects for State Constitutional Development, 53 Albany Law Review 403 (1989)papers.cfm
State Constitutionalism in New York: A Non-reactive Tradition, 2 Emerging Issues in State Constitutional Law 31 (1989)papers.cfm
A Classical Constitution: Ancient Roots of Our National Charter, 59 (no.8) New York State Bar Journal 10 (1987)
An Alternative to the Privilege Against Compulsory Self-Incrimination, 49 Brooklyn Law Review 31 (1982)papers.cfm
Professor Vincent Bonventre discussed the Supreme Court decision on prayer during town meetings as a guest on WCNY's Capitol Pressroom on May 9, 2014.
Professor Vincent Bonventre was interviewed by North Country Public Radio for "No consensus on raising judicial retirement age to 80."
"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 for the article "Rivera Would Face Steep Learning Curve On NY's Top Court" on the Law360 website on Jan. 23, 2013.
Professor Vincent Bonventre appeared on YNN's Capital Tonight to discuss Professor Jenny Rivera's nomination to the state Court of Appeals 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.
“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.
From the article "State Court Allows False-Confession Experts, but Bar Is High" in The New York Times on March 29.
Professor Vincent Bonventre was a guest on Capital Tonight, New York's statewide political TV program, to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's treatment of the Affordable Care Act on March 26.
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.