On July 22, 2014, Barry Cozier, private attorney and a retired justice of the Appellate Division 2nd Department (retired since 2006) was appointed by NYC Mayor De Blasio as Vice Chair of the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary.
The Committee is reportedly responsible for "recruiting, screening, and nominating candidates for judicial appointment to the city’s Family Court and Criminal Court, as well as the Civil Court for interim appointments".
On February 17, 2015, in his State of the Judiciary address, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced creation of the New York State Statewide Commission for Attorney Discipline, a supposedly independent commission that was charged to "conduct a top-to-bottom review of the system throughout the state to assess what is working well and what can work better, and to offer recommendations on fundamentally reshaping attorney discipline in New York".
On March 30, 2015, Lippman populated the Commission by appointing its members, the overwhelming supermajority of which were attorneys.
On March 31, 2015, Lippman appointed Barry Cozier to Co-Chair to the Statewide Commission for attorney discipline with the then-Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti.
On July 1, 2015 Lippman ALSO appoints Barry Cozier to be Vice-Chair of the Commission on Judicial pay raises. Of course, Lippman is up for mandatory retirement at the end of this year. He will not directly benefit from pay raises, but he does have an interest to keep his remaining judiciary buddies satisfied, since his friend Sheldon Silver has gone down and he needs to forge some connections and some favors before he left his position as Chief Judge.
On July 27, 2015 Gail Prudenti, Co-Chair of the Commission for Attorney Discipline, retires to pursue a career as an administrator in Hofstra Law School.
On August 10, 2015 Lippman promotes Barry Cozier as Chair to the Commission for Attorney Discipline.
Barry Cozier is also, reportedly, a long-time adjunct professor at Fordham Law School and he is on the Board of directors of the Fund for Modern Courts.
I also noted that on the website of Fordham Law School Barry Cozier is listed as a Supreme Court justice up to present time - screenshot taken today is below:
Barry Cozier retired from the bench in 2006, according to his advertising in another place, on the website of the law firm where he is partner. 11 years is enough time to change your information on your adjunct professor page and not mislead the public that you are still a judge.
Of course, Barry Cozier called himself a judge even now, while presiding over hearings in the Commission for Attorney Discipline - and while he announces on the webpage of his firm that he is not a judge, since 2006.
11 years since the retirement is enough to get it through his head that he is no longer a judge, and to get the statement that he is a judge from his advertisement at the Fordham School of Law page.
False advertisement is a disciplinary violation. Barry Cozier knows the rules, and knows that they must apply equally to all attorneys.
His Commission's report specifically deals with advertisement violations by attorneys and are calling for a "uniform penalty" for such violations:
Are we supposed to believe that Barry Cozier, who picks judges in the De Blasio Commission and advocates for judicial pay raises in the Lippman Commission, ever be disciplined for false advertising? I doubt that.
But I am positive that Barry Cozier's sitting on panels picking judges, advocating for judicial pay raises, and then presiding over public hearings where judicial corruption is presented as "an elephant in the room" at the core of the mess that attorney regulation in New York is in, that constitutes an irreconcilable conflict of interest.
Barry Cozier is a PRIVATE ATTORNEY who is a partner in a large law firm that appears in the same courts for which Barry Cozier appoints judges and sets salaries for judges.
Are we supposed to honestly believe that his activity on those panels does not influence judges in front of whom he and his law firm appears?
Barry Cozier is the WRONG person to be a fact-finder in public hearings raising the issues of:
- judicial corruption;
- selective enforcement of attorney discipline;
- violations of attorney advertisement rules
because he is, apparently, ENGAGED in all of the above.
After reading all of the above, I encourage you to watch
- Barry Cozier's behavior during the testimony of Elena Sassower at the public hearing in New York City - his tense and hostile body language, his rudeness, his deliberate lack of control over the bulky male armed court officer hovering over the petite Elena Sassower trying to shut her up and following her around the hearing room;
- Elena Sassower's interview after the hearing where she says that members of the panel - including Barry Cozier - fled without reviewing what she had to offer them, and
- The video report by Gary Jacobs of the Long Island Backstory indicating that the Cozier-Chaired Commission threw Gary Jacobs out of the building and threatened to throw him off the sidewalk in front of the building where the hearing was supposed to be held, and after that, it lied in its Report, by omission, showing that Gary Jacobs and his PHOTOGRAPHER were present at the public hearing, but omitting the fact that Gary Jacobs and his VIDEOGRAPHER were thrown out of the building, and not providing the link to Gary Jacobs out-of-the-building video report calling the Commission a sham.
That is, the Lippman who was confirmed because the Senate was led by Lippman's childhood buddy Sheldon Silver who, of course, disregarded any opposition to Lippman's appointment. Sheldon Silver who is now indicted by the feds for corruption.
The Lippman who ruled Sheldon Silver's way as soon as he got the confirmation to the high court with Lippman's help while, reportedly, bypassing multiple Senate rules.
The Lippman who gives Cozier his cozy appointments that Cozier uses to advertise and promote his private business.
So, Elena Sassower could not possibly get a fair review by Cozier, not when she was telling Cozier, part and parcel of the cozy legal cartel between private corporate attorneys and the judiciary, that that cartel is at the core of the problems with the "access to justice" crisis that Lippman hypocritically claims from high pulpit, while organizing behind the scene.
People who sat on that Commission, starting with Cozier, are the PROBLEM, not the solution.
And the only way to upend that apple cart, reduce corruption in court proceedings and ensure independent representation in court is to DEREGULATE the legal profession COMPLETELY, taking it away from the grips of corporate interests like Cozier's.