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Sand, Leonard B


SAND, LEONARD B. (1928– ), U.S. judge. Sand, a native of the Bronx, ny, who graduated from New York University and Harvard Law School, was admitted to the bar in 1953 and soon became a partner in the law firm of Robinson, Silverman, Pearce, Aronsohn, Sand and Berman. An expert on tax law, he was appointed to be a judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan in 1978. Sand presided over several important cases but two stand out: a two-decade-long case involving a desegregation lawsuit against the public schools of Yonkers, a New York City suburb, and the conviction and imprisonment of four terrorists for conspiring with Osama bin Laden in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa. The Yonkers case, over time, stood for several things: race, class, neighborhood, the American dream. The case, brought by the United States Justice Department in 1980, then joined by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, charged that race determined location and quality of education in Yonkers. The plaintiffs stated that the reason the schools were segregated was because the housing of Yonkers was segregated. Sand heard the case himself, without a jury, at the request of both sides. The trial took up most of 1983 and 1984. There were 93 days of testimony from 84 witnesses, 140 depositions, and thousands of exhibits. By the end of the trial, it was clear that Yonkers was segregated. Sand had to decide why. He saw a 40-year pattern, fueled by Yonkers city officials who approved sites for housing. Sand ordered Yonkers to redraw its districts and to move some of its poor minority residents from the poor minority side of town into public housing, to be built just for them, in the white, middle-class side of town. His ruling was appealed but subsequently upheld. In 1986 Sand ordered a federal monitor to oversee the integration of the schools through a host of court-ordered measures still in effect 20 years later, including magnet programs and busing. In the terrorism case, a jury trial, prosecutors called 92 government witnesses and introduced more than 1,300 exhibits in a four-month process. The prosecutors said the conspiracy grew out of a Muslim organization that had centers in Afghanistan and other places, including Brooklyn. Some of the members of the Brooklyn circles were convicted in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and in a plot to blow up other New York City landmarks. Sand sentenced the four men to life in prison without any chance of parole.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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