New York State’s highest court booted Queens trial judge Laura Blackburne from the bench yesterday, citing her “rash and reckless decision” to help a robbery suspect evade arrest, reports the New York Daily News. In a 5-to-2 ruling, the Court of Appeals said Blackburne had “placed herself above the law she was sworn to administer, thereby bringing the judiciary into disrepute and undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of her court.”
The decision ended a career marked frequent clashes with law enforcement during her years on the bench. Blackburne had told a court officer to escort a robbery suspect out a rear door to an elevator reserved for judges and out of the sight of a detective waiting for him. The suspect was later cleared. Blackburne, 68, argued for censure – a public scolding – instead of her ouster. She was the sixth justice at the Supreme Court level, New York State’s designation for trial courts, to be removed from office.