Bx. DA jails frisked gun thugs, and judge wife lets 'em go free
Last Updated: 6:42 AM, July 9, 2012
He locks ’em up, and she sets ’em free.
Dianne Renwick — one of the judges who tossed the stop-and-frisk conviction of a 14-year-old boy found with a gun in Harlem — is the wife of Bronx DA Robert Johnson.
The former public defender and longtime defendants’ advocate was part of the 3-2 appellate-court majority last week that ruled cops had no right to frisk Jaquan Morant two years ago — even though he was carrying a loaded 9mm pistol.
Her decision appears to fly in the face of the anti-gun campaigns of her DA husband and is seen as a major setback to the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program.
Likewise in 2001, Johnson said of a major gun-smuggling bust: “I think this is one of the most gratifying things we’ve ever done.”
In the Morant case, however, Renwick was more concerned with the actions of the cops.
The arresting officers, the majority ruled, lacked “reasonable suspicion” to search Morant, even though he was acting nervous and seen pulling an object — that turned out to be a gun — from his waistband and placing it in a backpack. Morant had been sentenced to 15 months’ probation.
Johnson has been largely silent on the stop-and-frisk program, which the NYPD says saves lives by taking guns off the street. But critics say it violates civil liberties.
There were 684,300 stop-and-frisks last year, with 90 percent of those stopped black or Hispanic.
“Each case is evaluated individually according to constitutional guidelines and case law,” said Johnson’s spokesman, Steven Reed.
Renwick, Johnson’s second wife, was appointed by former Gov. David Paterson to the Appellate Division in 2008.
A graduate of Cornell and Yeshiva’s Cardozo Law School, she was a public defender before she was first appointed to the bench as a housing-court judge in 1997. She became a state Supreme Court judge in 2001.
“The judges made this decision [in the Morant case] based solely on the facts and their interpretation of the law. To infer anything else is unfair,” said courts spokesman David Bookstaver.
Renwick, however, isn’t the only judge on recent stop-and-frisk cases who brings more to the table than a law degree.
Judge Peter Tom was part of a separate 3-2 ruling on June 26 in a remarkably similar case that saw the gun conviction of a 14-year-old Bronx boy tossed. Tom found that cops improperly searched Darryl Craig in February 2010, even though they found a loaded .25-caliber pistol, because the arresting officer acted on a “mere hunch at best, not a reasonable suspicion.”
Three months after Craig’s arrest, he was busted for allegedly shooting a man with another gun.
One of the two appeals judges who sided with Tom is Nelson Roman, a former NYPD cop who retired in 1982, according to law enforcement sources.
Roman is married to Carol Robles Roman, Mayor Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for legal matters.
She was under fire in 2004 after she was caught using her official lights and siren to cut through traffic when commuting from her Westchester residence to Manhattan. She has continued working for the most anti-gun mayor in America — even though her husband once possessed an NYPD-issued gun permit for his residence, according to documents obtained by The Post.
When the decision in the Craig case became public, the mayor fumed: “I can’t imagine what was going through these three judges’ heads. Here’s a case, as far as we can tell, [of] a police officer doing everything by the book trying to keep you and your kids safe.”
A spokesman for the mayor declined comment.
Additional reporting by Chuck Bennett
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