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#3042: Green Gets Court Order Citing Mayor on Dorismond (fwd)


March 29, 2000 NY TIMES
 Green Gets Court Order Citing Mayor on Dorismond  By THOMAS J. LUECK

Using an obscure, nearly century-old section of the City Charter,    
Public Advocate Mark Green obtained a court order yesterday directing
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to show by next week why he should not be held
legally accountable for the release of Patrick M.  Dorismond's sealed
court records. The Charter authorizes a court to inquire into "any
alleged violation or neglect of duty in relation to the property,
government or affairs  of the city," but the courts have rejected use of
the rule for legal standing in the few isolated cases in which it was
cited. In response to a motion by Mr. Green, Judge Louise Gruner Gans of
the State Supreme Court in Manhattan issued a show-cause order 
yesterday requesting that the mayor or his lawyers appear in her       
court on April 13 to determine whether confidentiality laws had       
been violated. "The best short-term remedy we have found to overturn the
mayor's  self-created precedent that he is above the law is to have a
court tell  him that no mayor is above the law," said Mr. Green, a
staunch adversary of Mr. Giuliani's and a candidate to succeed him in
2002 election. At his news conference two hours later, Mr. Giuliani said
he was  unaware of the judge's order. And he continued to defend his
decision to release the juvenile record of Mr. Dorismond, who was      
shot and killed by a police officer on March 16.  The mayor insisted
that "privacy interests end in death," although he acknowledged that the
law was ambiguous. "The statute says nothing about prohibiting the
release of those records after a person is dead, but at the same time
the statute doesn't authorize the release after death," Mr. Giuliani
said.  "The fact is that I made that judgment based on solid legal
advice.I'm happy to defend it anywhere."  Mr. Giuliani has said that Mr.
Dorismond's record is an indication that he was volatile, and that
evidence surrounding his shooting  indicated that Mr. Dorismond had
punched Officer Anthony  Vasquez and had a history of bad behavior. But
the mayor's critics, and Mr. Dorismond's family, have questioned the
mayor's decision to release details of a minor's police record.       
Sheldon Silver, the Democratic speaker of the New York Assembly,last
week ordered two Assembly committees to investigate whether the mayor
had violated state laws on confidentiality.  Mr. Green said he was
hopeful that the little-known provision of the City Charter would
provide a speedier method of examining the mayor's decision to release
the records. Laurel Eisner, general counsel to the public advocate, said
the provision was used by a group of animal rights advocates who     
sought to force Mayor Abraham D. Beame to move zoo animals from Central
Park to the Bronx Zoo during the 1976 fiscal crisis. But the courts have
ruled that decisions on city management and policy were beyond their
jurisdiction. In his motion to Judge Gruner Gans, Mr. Green said he had
asked the court to determine how the police and City Hall had gained 
access to Mr. Dorismond's sealed records, and the legality of the      
mayor's public disclosures.  At his news conference yesterday, Mr.
Giuliani suggested that more information about Mr. Dorismond's
background would be released to the public, saying "there are a lot of
factors that will come out in the case that will indicate the picture is
much more complicated than the press has unfortunately painted it."