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In Silk Sock Slugfest Koffman Supporters Lose Before SDNY Judge Captroni But Had Standing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 12 – Cameron Koffman wants to unseat Assemblyman Dan Quart on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

 But Koffman most recently voted in Connecticut. Alongside a New York State lawsuit, two Koffman supporters are the named plaintiffs in a case against the New York City Board of Elections. 

 On May 7 a hearing was held before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie E. Caproni. Inner City Press covered it, below.

 On May 12, after Koffman lost in the New York State courts, another hearing was held by Judge Caproni, and Inner City Press again covered it.

  Lawyer Richard Emery for Koffman kept referring to the Andrew Yang v NYS Board of Elections decision by SDNY Judge Analisa Torres.

     Judge Caproni said, That case is entirely different.    She was told that even if Koffman is not the ballot, the primary will not necessarily be cancelled - there could be a substitution of a candidate who IS qualified.   

The next argument by NYC Law Department lawyer Stephen Kitzinger was, If Koffman were on ballot, and even if he won, he would probably not be seated, he'd be ruled unqualified by the the legislators. 

   Then Martin Connor for Quart argued, A judge in New York has to have 10 years in the NY Bar... Where I'm sitting now is in the Adirondack Park, this great wilderness. It's important. You can't give a test to someone, do you know and care? The drafters of the Constitution made a bright line: 5 years.

   Judge Caproni said, Mr Emery, it's your motion, so you get the last word. Is there any question Mr Koffman was laying his head in Connecticut nine months out of 12 for four years?

    Emery replied, It was temporary... He was at Yale, and voted "talismanically." This is all turning on that Koffman voted in Connecticut.

    Judge Caproni asked, Are you saying voting means nothing? In a case about voting?

     Emery insisted, It has nothing to do with my client's right to vote for him.

  Ultimately Judge Caproni ruled, Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is denied. I do find they have standing...

 From May 7: Judge Caproni asked the plaintiffs' lawyers, Are you conceding that Mr. Koffman will lose in state court? 

   The answer: No, it's that the plaintiffs want the opportunity to vote for Mr. Koffman. 

  Judge Caproni asked, So the last work is likely to be the Appellate Division, next week?  

 They answered that the Appellate Division has jurisdiction over facts, like the question of residency.  

  Judge Caproni said, Thanks for that lesson in appellate practice, it was not what I worked on. 

   Plaintiff's lawyer Richard Emery said, We will be back to this court if we have to, if you do not issue a TRO today. The absentee ballots will be critical since many will not come out. The critical moment is approaching, when absentee ballots are being printed.

 Defendants' (NYC's) lawyer Kitzinger said, Currently being printed are absentee ballots and *applications* for absentee ballots, of which 5 million will have to be mailed out.  

 Plaintiffs' lawyers cited SDNY Judge Analisa Torres decision "two days ago" - the Andrew Yang v Board of Ed case which Inner City Press covered. 

  Judge Caproni noted, New York law only allows you to have one electoral residence. And he voted in Connecticut.  

 The answer was, It's only that you can't vote in both places.  

At the end Judge Caproni ruled, "WHEREAS Plaintiffs did not dispute BOE's representations and acknowledged that, if the absentee ballots indeed name Mr. Koffman as a candidate, no emergency relief is required at this time; IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order is DENIED as moot, or, alternatively, for the lack of any injury. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to terminate docket entry 33. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs must submit any supplemental authorities in support of their motion for a preliminary injunction, as set forth during the hearing, no later than 5:00 P.M. on May 7, 2020; Defendants' responses are due by May 9, 2020, at 5:00 P.M. (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 5/7/2020)."

 Inner City Press will stay on the case, and on the issues. The case is Tucker et al v. Board of Elections, 20-cv-3111 (Caproni). 


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