Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin See Rating Details
District Judge See Comments
S.D.N.Y.  
Average Rating:6.3 - 29 rating(s)
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Ratings

*Temperament:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Scholarship:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Industriousness:   (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
*Ability to Handle Complex Litigation:    (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Punctuality:    (1=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Trial:    (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Sentencing:    (1=Most Lenient,10=Most Harsh)
Typical Discount Off Guidelines for Cooperators:    (1=10%,10=100%)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating
Comments



What others have said about Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin


Comments


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 23207
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
We really like Judge Scheindlin, and we have won and lost cases against her as we represent law enforcement. She is hardworking, thoughtful and can be tough on the lawyers but in a tough love sort of way. She wants to be fair and apply the law evenhandedly, and doesn't tolerate gamesmanship, which she is experienced enough to see. SDNY is lucky to have such a hard-working topnotch intellect as a judge.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 21740
Rating:8.3
Comments:
Judge Scheindlin is very busy and keeps you to a tight schedule. She could be a little more respectful to litigants (i.e. let them finish their sentences). She often informs the parties of how she intends to rule prior to reading any of their arguments or case law, and prior to doing any research herself, in an apparent attempt to discourage motion practice. This is frustrating at best, but to her credit, she ultimately hands down a well-reasoned decision that appears to be without bias.

She is extremely bright and experienced. If nothing else, she is also very entertaining to appear before. Overall she's an excellent judge, even if you do want to pull your hair out from time to time.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 21209
Rating:2.0
Comments:
Hon. Shira Sheindlin

In 2009, there were public hearings held at the State Capitol concerning the level of public dissatisfaction at the Appellate Division First Department Disciplinary Committee (the Committee that oversees attorneys in New York) and the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (the Committee that oversees judges’ misconduct). I testified.

I testified concerning attorneys at the DDC. I had requested the DDC’s assistance because attorneys I had retained were not sending me copies of checks that they were required to send. One of the attorneys was formerly employed as an attorney at the DDC; the other was a former Chief Counsel at the DDC. The DDC attorneys were claiming they were obtaining the copies of the checks from the bank — the DDC attorneys were telling me this for three years. Everyone knows it does not take a bank three years to send checks. When I realized that the DDC attorneys were not being honest, I filed a complaint in the NY State Court in order to obtain copies of the checks. The presiding judge was the Hon. Joan Kenny, and she dismissed the case, calling me frivolous by attributing cases to me that were not mine, and then publishing the decision on the front page of the NY Law Journal. The checks that the DDC eventually turned over to me were forged. The Chief Counsel of the DDC, Thomas Cahill, closed the case and stated that the attorneys had turned over the checks to the DDC when I filed the complaint with the DDC. This was inconsistent with what the DDC attorneys were telling me for three years.

At the hearing, I testified about the expert’s report that I obtained concerning the forged checks. The expert also investigated the curriculum vitae of Judge Kenny, which she found on the judge’s campaign website; she found material misrepresentations such as: inaccurate and false information about participation in law school activities, her licensure date and legal employment, and her professional experience.

Many people who testified filed Federal Court cases. I filed a federal complaint and it was consolidated with many other with similar issues and defendants.

In the complaint, I also questioned the constitutionality of a state statute. Article VI, Section 22 of the Constitution of the State of New York established the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC) to receive, initiate, investigate and hear complaints with respect to the conduct, qualifications, fitness to perform or performance of official duties of any judges and may determine that a judge be admonished, censured or removed from office. The powers of the SCJC are a constitutional obligation. The State Statute, Section 44 of the Judiciary Law, was unconstitutional in that it violated the due process and equal protection clauses, since unbridled discretion had been given to the SCJC to determine which allegations of a complaint are without merit and to dismiss them. It allowed for complaints filed against a judge with the SCJC not to be made public, and therefor,e the legislature had abrogated its constitutional responsibility by giving a constitutional obligation to an organization that is not subject to review or oversight.

Judge Sheindlin, in a sua sponte decision, dismissed my case and all other related cases in one decision. The sua sponte decision was shocking in light of the language in her opinion, in which she stated: “I note the Second Circuit’s warning that ‘failure to afford an opportunity to oppose a contemplated sua sponte dismissal may be, by itself, grounds for reversal.’” (Abbas v. Dixon, quoting Acosta v. Artuz.) Many of the related cases were going on for years.

Judge Sheindlin is ignoring a truism central to American Constitutional jurisprudence: that state laws that are repugnant to the Constitution are absolutely null and void, and of the well-established principle of American Constitutional Law that Federal courts have jurisdiction to evaluate the constitutionality of challenged state laws.

I appealed the dismissal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Hon. Richard C. Wesley was assigned to the appeal.

When I filed my Appellant’s Brief, I had my third case manager. Since I was pro se when filing the complaint, the District Court considered me pro se and I could not use the ECF system or follow any other requirement for attorneys. My first two case managers at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals also considered me pro se. The third case manager refused to file my Appellant’s Brief and insisted that I serve the New York State Attorney General, who had never appeared in the case and was in default for over nine months. Further, she insisted that I follow the guidelines of an attorney, which caused me additional expense, since I now needed to reprint the brief. Catherine O’Hagan Wolff was the Chief Clerk of the Court of Appeals. I find it difficult to believe that she did not know that I was an attorney from the beginning, since she was one of the defendants in the lawsuit and was served with the complaint in the case. (She was named as a defendant because during her prior occupation as Clerk of the Appellate Division, First Department, she corresponded with me numerous times when I sought the intervention of the presiding justice who oversaw the DDC.) Many people in Albany testified about the manipulation of their cases by Catherine O’Hagan Wolff — the corruption of the NY State Court system moved directly into the Federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. This is how the corruption occurred.

Judge Wesley was bound to recuse himself from hearing this appeal; due process requires a neutral and detached judge. Here, Judge Wesley was intimately connected with the allegations of judicial misconduct by State judicial actors in this and other cases, having sat in the New York Court of Appeals while some of the relevant events integral to my complaint were transpiring. I obtained his financial disclosure form that listed a pension he received from the New York State Employees' Retirement System. He was being asked on this appeal, in effect, to “second guess” the decisions of a state court on which he sat. Moreover, one respondent in this case, the Hon. Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, is alleged to have negligently supervised certain judges and negligently supervised certain attorneys of the DDC in her other duties as Chief Administrator of the Court. Respondent Judge Kaye was appointed to the New York Court of Appeals in 1983. Judge Wesley, after being appointed to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Fourth Department in 1994, became a judge on the Court of Appeals in 1997 and sat with Judge Kaye on that court for six years.

Both Judge Wesley and Judge Kaye were on the Court of Appeals when I was seeking to have Judge Kaye exercise her supervisory powers over the conduct of certain judges and DDC attorneys. As such, Judge Wesley had knowledge of Judge Kaye’s daily activities and how much time she devoted to either deciding cases or supervising, in her administrative role, the judges and attorneys at the DDC. Thus, Judge Wesley may be a material witness in this case, and should have recused himself.

Furthermore, he had an outburst from the bench during oral argument in this case, with denigrating remarks in open court, and exposed the prejudice and bias that he brought to this matter, which warranted his recusal.

If anyone ever want to know why there is so much corruption in the New York Court systems, it is not because attorneys and litigants are not trying to deal with it, it is because the judges are blocking their efforts — they want the corruption to continue.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 19404
Rating:3.2
Comments:
Rude, abrasive and can be intellectually dishonest. Beware the faint-hearted.

Other

Comment #: 19397
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
Judge Shira Scheindlin has ruled that the unconstitutional stop and frisk be active again in New York so cops can once again invade the rights of the people

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 18343
Rating:3.3
Comments:
Vicious, caustic, personally abusive to counsel and intellectually dishonest if embarrassed by submissions and reversed on appeal --requiring remand to her-- in relation to such submissions.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 9856
Rating:8.7
Comments:
To do well before Judge Scheindlin, you must master the following sentence:

"Judge, can we brief it?" or its variation "Judge, can we have a briefing schedule?"

When this Judge gets a set of papers, she usually produces a very nice, well-thought out ruling.

However, if you ask for a ruling "on the fly" then watch out -- you don't know what you are going to get. Can be anything from solid to downright bizarre.

Overall, pretty good at case management and other Magistrate-type things. But on substantive issues, you have to get her written submissions.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 8659
Rating:3.3
Comments:
She lives in the ivovryist of Ivory Towers. Short, not willing to admit errors large or small, not proactive where justice is on the line. Altogether a reason to yearn for state court if you can beleive that. A disgrace to Article III. If only impeachment were an easier process.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 8283
Rating:9.5
Comments:
I had a particularly difficult criminal trial before her and she handled the case in an incredibly fair manner. She is a decent and kind woman -- and I have no personal relationship with her. Any criminal litigant who complains was either ill-prepared or a disgruntled prosecutor who is unhappy that the judge didn't bend over backwards for the government.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7873
Rating:4.4
Comments:
Shrill, abusive, biased, arrogant and result oriented.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7811
Rating:6.5
Comments:
She is abusive in court and does not suffer fools. Make one mistake and she will not forget it. She is quick to make decisions without the benefit of any argument.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7723
Rating:9.3
Comments:
Doesn't seem to want much to do with non-complicated private civil litigation.

Don't expect that you will given an adjournment of the trial date at the pre-trial conference if you haven't sought the extension prior to the conference.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 6850
Rating:1.8
Comments:
Lacks scholarship and apparently leaves her decisions to clerks whose work is not scrutinized. Lacks any understanding or comprehension of intellectual property law.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 6031
Rating:8.5
Comments:
Bright and articulate. Rather abrupt but usually right. Sensitive counsel will be upset with her, but if you're prepared she's with you.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5410
Rating:3.2
Comments:
An unnecessarily abusive judge. If you disagree with her initial viewpoint, she seems to take it personally and rips into the attorneys. Unprofessional, abrasive and abusive. There should be no place on the bench for this type of conduct.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 5378
Rating:2.3
Comments:
Shrill, nasty, short-tempered, not helpful. She is awful.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 4546
Rating:9.6
Comments:
Wonderful judge, very sharp and fair.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 3761
Rating:3.3
Comments:
I felt compelled to comment, because I believe I am a neutral observer, never having appeared before Judge Scheindlin, and knowing her only by reputation and having met her a handful of times at bar functions. So please take my numerical ratings with a grain of salt. That being said, the negative comments have the better of the argument - among lawyers who practice in federal court, she is reputed to be just awful in temperament and perceived bias (result-orientedness). My guess is that the positive comments displayed here come from some personal connection to the judge, who may well be a nice person in her private life.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3674
Rating:7.3
Comments:
Judge Scheindlin is very much a "my way or the highway" judge. Not very solicitous of counsel. Her opinions are thoughtful but very result-oriented. Organized, careful and conscientious.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 2739
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Very smart and thoughtful in her decisions, even when they go against you the decision is will thought out and the conclusion reasoned. Expects a high level of legal scholarship and can be short tempered when she doesn't get it.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 2269
Rating:3.0
Comments:
A terrible judge; the positive reviews by the other raters left me aghast. This judge is infamous within the NY legal community for her shrill, unbelievably-abusive courtroom behavior. In my experience she has rarely been civil towards, let alone respectful of, the lawyers who appear before her, and has displayed no regard for their difficulties or concerns with scheduling and other issues. She can be set off in an hysterical tirade by the slightest disagreement or perceived disrespect, with the result being that you can't be sure she is even listening to your arguments. I can't say that she is stupid, indecisive or doesn't work hard, but her foul temperment and inability to keep her biases and personal agendas out of the cases that come before her make it very difficult to get a fair result. She should not be a judge.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 2108
Rating:9.5
Comments:
One of the hardest-working judges I have ever seen. Rightfully expects high quality and thorough preparation.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 1700
Rating:6.7
Comments:
a bright, hard working judge who is overall a tough but good assignment

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 1689
Rating:8.2
Comments:
Excellent judge. Smart, responsive, and fair. A credit to the bench.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 1668
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Very fair, thoughtful, impressive, one of the best judges around. Wish they were all like Judge Scheindlin.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 1548
Rating:2.8
Comments:
Don't know where the other posters got their views, but this judge is well known to have an anti-government position on many issues. Has appeared particularly hostile to the government's terrorism program, inappropriately injecting her views that the government shouldn't waste its time on certain cases. Not her role, last anyone checked.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 1377
Rating:9.9
Comments:
Extremely intelligent. Extremely hardworking. Extremely independent. Extremely fair.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 1241
Rating:9.4
Comments:
Excellent judge. Very smart and incisive. Will decide matters quickly and fairly, and has godd understanding of many areas of the law. A credit to the Bench.