Here’s the conclusion of that report on the process of impeachment co-written in 1986 by Long Island Republican state Senator Michael Balboni, then the counsel to the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee John Dunne:
“The conclusion is that the laws governing impeachment and removal of a public official fail to fill the substantive due process void.”
Newsday wrote it up as a possible line of defense for Alan Hevesi as Eliot Spitzer mulls the options for removing him.
The argument sounds a lot like what George Pataki’s special counsel concluded when he opted not to recommend impeaching Hevesi: it wasn’t for a lack of evidence, but rather because it was unclear how the removal process would work.
Incidentally, this wouldn’t be the first time vague legislative rules turned out to be an impenetrable defense against ethics-related allegations in Albany. Clarence Norman beat back charges that he double-dipped and fraudulently billed the state for travel expenses that other people paid for on his behalf. The Assembly rules about travel reimbursements were found to be so vague that Norman was acquitted.
— Azi Paybarah