WHY IS THE TROOPER OR OFFICER WHO ISSUED YOUR NEW YORK STATE TRAFFIC TICKET ALSO PROSECUTING IT? PART III – A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE THREE BRANCHES OF NEW YORK STATE GOVERNMENT AND THEIR RESPECTIVE ROLES
The simple fact is, the practice of the issuing officer prosecuting their own New York traffic tickets is allowed only because of an outright Judicial hijacking by the court’s of the State Legislature’s power. Generally, the New York State Constitution establishes that the Legislative Branch (consisting of the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate) enact the laws (with the consent of the governor) (see NY Const. Art. 3, § I).
The New York State Executive branch enforces and carries out the laws enacted by the New York State Legislature (See NY Const. Art. IV) and the New York State Judiciary branch interprets and applies the laws enacted by the Legislature (NY Const. Art. VI). It is not the function of the Executive and/or the Judiciary branches to create laws.
This division of powers and responsibilities is commonly known as the “Separation of Powers” doctrine most of us learned about early in our scholastic careers. The “Separation of Powers” doctrine is a bedrock principle in this country as well as in New York. Each branch of government should be free to carry-out its lawful duties free from the improper interference from the other branches of government. New York State Inspection, Sec. and Law Enforcement Employees, Dist. Council 82, AFSCME, AFL-CIO v. Cuomo, 64 N.Y.2d 233, 485 N.Y.S.2d 719, 475 N.E.2d 90 (1984).
Therefore, whether they agree with the law or not, law enforcement (which is part of the Executive Branch) must enforce a law duly enacted by the Legislature. For example, it’s not for law-enforcement to decide that drugs should be legal and refuse to enforce our drug laws. Similarly, absent some constitutional infirmity, judges are bound to impose and interpret the laws as written by the Legislature whether they agree with them or not.
Applying the Separation of Powers Doctrine to attorney admissions to practice law in New York, it is the New York State Legislature that has the unrestricted power to determine the procedures and by what evidence the qualifications for admission as an attorney to the New York State Bar should be ascertained. In re Cooper, 22 N.Y. 67 (1860). In fact, in Cooper, the Court of Appeals noted that the authority and power to admit attorneys to practice in the State of New York is not an inherent power of the courts but is entirely subject to legislative action.