Tag Archives: Robert Johnson

In Bronx District Attorney Election, Vote for Kalief Browder, Who Committed Suicide After 3 Years of Clark’s Court Delays

3 Nov

A Bronx Matters Editorial:

There is little excitement about voting in Bronx elections that are non-mayoral, non-presidential, non-borough-presidential, and not even for a city councilperson or a state legislator. It is, however, judicial. It’s not that that’s unimportant, but since there is virtually no coverage, debates, or campaigning, what do we know about any of these people? We could all spend the time finding them on-line and reading a little about them, but that highly unlikely, especially on Election Day.

It’s 1:06 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3 that I’m beginning to write this and I have no clue who I’m going to vote for in eight judicial elections, or whether I’m even going to take part in voting for people I know nothing about.

But here’s one thing I know I will do – vote in the district attorney election today because the story behind it is such a signal of our borough’s lack of sufficient democracy in a so-called democratic society.

Robert Johnson, the 27-year veteran district attorney, left his position not by stepping out of the Democratic campaign, but by staying in his position, avoiding a primary in September (clearly no Democrat thought they had a chance of defeating this multi-term incumbent) and then simply quitting when the Bronx Democratic Party placed him in another virtual victory lane to be a judge.

But in today’s election, I’m writing in the name of someone who couldn’t even serve if he did win. Kalief Browder served three years in Rikers, where he attempted suicide. He was accused of robbery but spent more than a thousand days in jail without a trial. In six court dates, nothing occurred except for delays.

At home, Browder apparently was better and attending Bronx Community College. But he didn’t stay better and eventually hung himself outside his bedroom window.

So, who was the judge? Darcel Clark, the judge that Bronx Democrats chose to replace Johnson. (She is the Democrat running against Republican Robert D. Siano, who has little chance to win a borough with zero Republican elected officials.)

Whether or not you vote for her, Clark is going to be the district attorney. But maybe if enough write-in votes go to Browder, it will encourage more Bronxites and journalists to keep a close eye on Clark for an obvious reason. And more voting could possibly make Bronx pols think before they continue to exacerbate this pervasive dwindling of democracy.

Sharing this with you now at 3 p.m on Election Day is late in the game. But if you haven’t voted yet and reading this soon after I post it, you’ll have about 6 hours to go. You many not feel like voting in any of these “races,” but vote nonetheless. You can choose anyone on the ballot or write in a name. So, please … vote, vote, vote!

One last thing: Choosing Kalief Browder as a write-in vote for district attorney was not my idea. A friend mentioned it to me and I felt it was such a good idea I had to share it.

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More on Bronx DA Race, and Lack Thereof

6 Oct

As explained in previous post, Darcel Clark replacing District Attorney Robert Johnson is a virtual certainty thanks to Johnson’s post-primary resignation and Bronx Democrats dropping Clark in his place. A Republican lawyer, Robert D. Siano, has entered the race, but with no other elected Republican in the entire Bronx of 1.4 million residents, his chances are, uh, a tad limited.

In the Daily News today, Errol Louis writes about wrongful convictions during Johnson’s 28-year tenure,  and says, “voters deserve to hear much more about the decade [Clark] spent in Johnson’s office and how she intends to correct the scourge of wrongful convictions.”

Virtual Appointment of New Bronx DA Without Significant Election Criticized

1 Oct

After almost 27 years as the Bronx’s district attorney, Robert Johnson retired, or maybe resigned is a better word, as he’s likely to acquire another impressive legal gig as judge.

Many people are pissed. Why? Because Johnson, DA for a quarter of a century, departed after primary election day in September. Therefore, his Bronx Democrat pals got to nominate a current judge, Darcel Clark, to essentially replace him without a November vote that matters. And those same Dems have effectively appointed Johnson to be a state Supreme Court justice. And since Primary day is long gone, potential Democratic challengers have literally been dismissed. As for Republicans, there hasn’t been a GOP elected official in the Bronx since State Senator Guy Velella resigned in 2004 (following his corruption conviction).

The Riverdale Press covers the story. It also shares its outrage and profiles Johnson’s likely replacement. And today, in the Times, former Riverdale Press editor Kate Pastor covers Clark’s visit to the Benjamin Franklin Democratic Reform Club on West 231st Street in Kingsbridge. Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, who is the chair (a second position actually) of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, had this to say about the election in Pastor’s article:

“The power that was allegedly taken away from the voters was gone already, because nobody chose to run against him,” Dinowitz said.

True, but 27-year incumbent DAs, particularly in Johnson’s case, rarely get much of a challenge, if any at all. Open seats do. Johnson sat on his seat until he got a new job.

What Johnson said about leaving his veteran position was in the New York Times right after the Democratic convention:

“Don’t resign a job without a job,” he said was often his advice to friends. “If I had resigned before this convention tonight, I would not have a job. I think that after 40 years of public service that I deserve to be able to continue to serve the community.”

If you’re interested in this, as all Bronxites should be, WNYC’s metro editor (and Bronxite) David Lewis, along with NY1’s “Inside City Hall” host (and Daily News columnist) Errol Louis — both veteran reporters — take a well-educated whack at what are essentially Bronx Democrats’ actions that ain’t so democratic.

NY Post: AG and Bronx DA Investigate Naomi Rivera

21 Aug

The New York Post continues its coverage of Naomi Rivera, who allegedly hired boyfriends to work for her and run a nonprofit she controlled. Today the paper reports that Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are looking into the allegations.

Politicker has a rundown of the Post’s coverage so far.