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James D. Hopkins Memorial Lecture, delivered at Pace Law School, Oct. 25, 2008.

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Abstract

This is the James D. Hopkins Memorial Lecture in honor of Judge Hopkins, who was the Dean of Pace Law School from 1982 to 1983 and earlier served with great distinction on the New York Appellate Division's Second Judicial Department. Judge Hopkins served on that court when I worked in the special prosecutor's office, and as head of the appeals bureau, I argued several cases in Judge Hopkins' court. One case stands out, the case of Salvatore Nigrone v. Murtagh. It was an extensive undercover investigation. My office used informants, wiretaps, and a sham arrest to expose corrupt attempts to influence criminal cases. As a result, a grand jury indicted three judges and two lawyers for perjury before the grand jury. On a motion to dismiss the indictments, the appellate division upheld the perjury charges but condemned my office's investigation as “intolerable,” “illegal,” “outrageous,” “overzealous,” “pernicious,” and a “corruption and manipulation of the criminal justice system.”

After Judge Hopkins and I found ourselves together in the same law school, we talked about that case and about the justice system in which we both served in different ways. James Hopkins was a brilliant man, a sort of a renaissance scholar. I dedicated one of my early articles in the Yale Law Journal, about overzealous government conduct, to Judge Hopkins. It was a tribute to his wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration; and I remember him as I deliver this lecture in his name.