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NEW YORK LAWYERS REJECT ETHICS RULE NEW YORK — A group made up of leaders from 41 New York metropolitan-area bar associations voted Tuesday to oppose a key proposal made by a blue-ribbon commission to shore up public confidence in the way judges are elected. By a vote of 15-1, with seven abstentions, the Network of Bar Leaders opposed the recommendation of the commission established by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to require the recusal of judges who have accepted more than $500 in campaign contributions over a five-year period from lawyers who appear before them, said Gary B. Pillersdorf, president of the Network of Bar Leaders. The New York State Bar Association at its January meeting also opposed the mandatory disclosure rule for campaign contributions as formulated by the 29-member Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections. In her 2003 State of the Judiciary address, Chief Judge Kaye announced that she would create the commission in the wake of a series of scandals that had shaken public faith in the election of judges. When the commission unveiled its interim proposals in December, its chairman, Professor John D. Feerick of Fordham University School of Law, described the campaign-contribution proposal as setting the toughest standard in the nation. — New York Law Journal PANEL CLEARS SITTER OF MURDER CHARGE ALBANY, N.Y. — Leaving a 3-year-old child in a latched room on a hot night with the furnace blasting amounts to an act of criminal negligence, but not depraved murder, an Albany appellate panel said Wednesday. The Appellate Division, Third Department, engaged in an extensive analysis of the case and record before reducing the conviction of a baby sitter. It said the evidence simply did not add up to murder. People v. Baker, 12332, arose out of an incident in Tioga County, where Eunice M. Baker, a woman of marginal intelligence with an IQ of 73, was baby-sitting a 3-year-old in the apartment of the child’s foster parents. Ms. Baker left the child in a bedroom, latching a hook and eye so the girl could not escape. The night was extremely hot, and the natural heat was exacerbated considerably by the fact that the furnace malfunctioned and ran continuously. After several hours in that environment, the child died of hyperthermia. Based on two statements to police, the Tioga County district attorney obtained an indictment accusing Ms. Baker of intentional and depraved indifference murder. A jury convicted her of second-degree murder, under a depraved indifference theory, and the judge sentenced Ms. Baker to a prison term of 15 years to life. — New York Law Journal

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