Lupolianski asks court to disqualify judge in city attorney case

Opposition leader: "I am stunned by Lupolianski's chutzpah."

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
October 24, 2006 23:45
2 minute read.
lupolianski 88

lupolianski 88. (photo credit: )

In a burgeoning legal saga, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski has asked a Jerusalem labor court to disqualify a judge who issued an interim order against his dismissal of the city attorney, court documents released Tuesday show. The extraordinary request in the case, which was filed last week by the attorney representing the mayor, came one month after the court barred Lupolianski from firing city attorney Yossi Havilio following a dispute between the mayor and the city's top law enforcement official over a series of controversial municipal moves. "From the court's wide-ranging and detailed decision, the suspicion emerges that the honorable court has reached a final opinion on a factual and legal matter which is still pending before the court," the request to disqualify Judge Dita Prozinen or move the case to another court judge reads. The mayor's lawyers also asked the court to delay a scheduled November 15 hearing on the case, pending the court's ruling on their request to disqualify the judge. Lupolianski spokesman Gidi Schmerling added that the city's attorneys had filed the request since the judge had formulated an opinion before hearing the testimony of city councilors who were to testify in the case. Jerusalem opposition leader Nir Barkat, who has been fighting the dismissal of the city attorney, blasted the mayor's attempt to disqualify the judge. "I am stunned by Lupolianski's chutzpah in his attempts to have the judge disqualified instead of following through on the court's ruling," he said. He urged the mayor to "end this farce" and stop unnecessarily wasting money from the public coffers on the case. Last month, the Jerusalem Labor Court called the city's decision to dismiss the city attorney a "head-on collision" between the mayor's decisions and the law, and blamed Lupolianski for the strained relations between the two men. The interim court decision represented a stinging defeat for the mayor and came three months after Havilio filed an appeal against his unprecedented dismissal by the city. The mayor's decision to oust Havilio follow a series of back-to-back legal loses that he suffered after refusing to accept various legal opinions proffered by the city counsel, including one against illegal city funding for haredi private schools in the capital and one against illicit political appointments. Havilio supporters have called the ouster a travesty of justice and a blow to the rule of law, while his opponents said he had to go - even if he was an honest official - due to the tension with the mayor.


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