Second Circuit Judge Roger J. Miner died on Feb. 17 of heart-related problems at his home in Hudson, N.Y. He was 77.
Judge Miner, who assumed senior status in 1997, was appointed to the circuit in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, who four years earlier had appointed him to the Northern District bench in Albany.
Born in Hudson, he earned his B.S. at the State University of New York and his LL.B. in 1956 from New York Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Law Review.
After law school, he served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps until 1959, when he returned to Hudson and entered private practice. He was later promoted to captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.
In 1961, he became corporation counsel for the City of Hudson, and served in that role until 1964, when he joined the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant.
He was elected district attorney in 1967 and served two terms before his election in 1975 to state Supreme Court in the Third Judicial District. He was on the state bench when he was tapped by the White House for an opening on the Northern District bench.
At the circuit, Judge Miner was in the majority last year in finding that the New York City Department of Education did not violate the privacy rights of a teacher when it publicly disclosed she had fibromyalgia. He wrote that people suffering from HIV or AIDS, or those who are transsexual, have been found to have a privacy interest in keeping their conditions from disclosure because of discrimination and intolerance they may face, but “we discern no evidence in the record revealing societal discrimination and intolerance against those suffering from fibromyalgia.” Matson v. Board of Education of the City School District of New York, 09-3773-cv.
In July 2010, Judge Miner was in the majority that overturned the death sentence of Ronell Wilson, who killed two undercover police officers posing as gun buyers in a 2003 Staten Island sting operation. The majority said that a prosecutor’s statements to the jury and a judge’s refusal to give the jury a limiting charge undermined the death sentence given Mr. Wilson for the murder of Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews. The panel in United States v. Wilson, 07-1320-cr, however, unanimously upheld Mr. Wilson’s convictions.
In 2007, Judge Miner was on a panel that found that an Eastern District judge’s sudden declaration of a mistrial without polling the jury meant the government was barred by double jeopardy from retrying two white-collar defendants, Michael DeGennaro and Frank Borghese, who were among a group of senior executives at Symbol Technologies, a Long Island bar code scanning company, accused of fraudulent accounting practices and other misconduct designed to boost Symbol’s stock price over a five-year period. In United States v. Razmilovic, 06-4195-cr, the panel found the judge abused the considerable discretion given judges for declaring a deadlocked jury.
Judge Miner was hearing oral arguments until recently. He was on a panel that ruled on Feb. 15 that New York’s Shield Law protected a journalist from having to appear for a videotaped deposition, Baker v. Goldman Sachs & Co., 11-1591-cv (NYLJ, Feb. 16).
Judge Miner was an adjunct professor at Albany Law School and previously at New York Law School. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Practicing Law Institute, and held honorary degrees from New York Law School, Syracuse University and Albany Law School.
Judge Miner is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; his sons, Larry and Mark Miner and Ronald and Ralph Carmichael; his brother, Lance; and six grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be held on Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. to noon at Bates & Anderson Funeral Home, 110 Green Street, Hudson, followed by funeral services at 2 p.m. at Congregation Anshe-Emeth, Joslen Blvd., Hudson.