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Rating:Hearing Officer in Pru Refuses to Recuse Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Hearing Officer in Pru Refuses to Recuse

News summary by MFWire's editors

Life for some alleged market timers just keeps getting more difficult. On Monday, Prudential brokers charged with improper trading received some bad news. The person in charge of hearing the civil case, Diane Young-Spitzer, denied a motion calling on her to recuse herself from the case.

Lawyers for the defendants filed a motion in May arguing that Young-Spitzer, as an associate director of Massachusetts Securities Division, suffers from a conflict of interest in the case. Young-Spitzer reports to William Galvin, secretary of the commonwealth.

"To me it is axiomatic that when an employee of the entity that is bringing the complaint has to make a decision in light of her boss's comments on the matter, it's impossible for that person to be fair and impartial," said Brad Bailey, an attorney representing former Prudential broker Justin Ficken.

Reuters reported in late May that Steven Fuller, a lawyer for a former Prudential office manager said during a hearing "[i]t is in the best interest for you as an employee of the (Securities) Division to step aside and an independent officer be appointed." Fuller added that Young-Spitzer had not "exhibited affirmative bias."

Young-Spitzer accepted the defense's motion to recuse in late May, but did not make a decision until recently.

Also in May, Reuters reported that lawyers from U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan's office had contacted Massachusetts regulators seeking postponement of the civil case until September 30. Young-Spitzer granted that motion.

Jack Pirozzollo, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in a hearing "[w]e understand that there is an interest for the individuals to have the proceedings move as fast as possible...[b]ut that is outweighed by the public interest in having the criminal investigation proceed without interference from the civil discovery." 

Edited by: Theresa Sim

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