Whether sufficient evidence existed in the record of the State Commission on Judicial Misconduct to justify its determination that the petitioner should be removed from his judicial office.
Yes. The facts contained in the record are sufficient to support a finding of judicial misconduct rising to the severity necessary to warrant removal from office.
Petitioner served as a Town Justice in the Town of Haverstraw Justice Court and as acting Justice of the West Haverstraw Village Court, Rockland County. Based upon several incidents of alleged misconduct, charges were filed with the State Commission on Judicial Misconduct. The Commission sustained nine of the ten charges filed against petitioner, and determined that he should be removed from office. Petitioner sought review from the New York Court of Appeals.
The record below contains accounts of insensitive remarks by Petitioner made in the course of court proceedings, one involving sexual and spousal abuse. In addition, the record includes facts indicating that the Petitioner offered to use the powers of his office to the benefit of local officials who furthered Petitioner's personal business, and that Petitioner verbally berated a complainant appearing before him in court, said complainant being a former client of Petitioner's private law practice. The Court noted that by failing to recuse himself from that case, Petitioner increased the seriousness of his violations of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.
The Court found that the remarks in court, failure to recuse, and attempts to abuse the authority of his office were adequately supported in the record below. It further determined that the evidence in the record was sufficient to justify a finding of serious misconduct and violations of several of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct and similar provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Court was satisfied that the Commission's determined sanction of removal from office was appropriate.
Prepared by the liibulletin-ny Editorial Board.