Former Suffolk County Judge Stuart Namm has published a memoir about his time on the bench. The book, entitled “A Whistleblower’s Lament: The Perverted Pursuit of Justice in the State of New York”, is the story of his life, including his more than 16 year career as a Suffolk County judge. Originally seen as a strict law and order judge who handed out very harsh sentences, Namm eventually came to the conclusion that the police testifying in his courtroom often lied under oath. Specifically, he came to believe that evidence was being manufactured to obtain convictions in major homicide trials. He asked than New York Governor Mario Cuomo to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Suffolk County’s criminal justice system. After a three-year investigation, the New York State Commission of Investigation concluded that Suffolk County’s top law-enforcement officials had ”grave shortcomings in leadership,” condoned crimes by employees and allowed ”slipshod” police work and prosecutions to bungle drug and murder cases.” His complaints eventually resulted in resignations, transfers and dismissals of some very powerful members of the Suffolk County Police Department and District Attorney’s Office. Former Suffolk County District Attorney Patrick Henry decided not to seek re-election after the report was published.
Though he may have been vindicated by the Commission, Namm’s judicial career came to a swift end. Neither party endorsed his nomination for re-election to the bench. He and he and his family left Long Island for North Carolina, where he still lives. He is now seen either as a whistle blowing hero, or a delusional crackpot, depending on who you talk to. Many of the individuals he criticizes in this book are still major players in Suffolk County government. I found his book to be both entertaining and enlightening, although the events he describes were just a little before my time.