Thursday, June 25, 2009
The New York Commission on Judicial Discipline closed a matter as a result of the resignation of a town court justice. The justice is barred from future judicial service.
The non-lawyer justice had stipulated that he presided over a small claims action involving a close friend and neighbor who was seeking unpaid rent on a trailer. The trailer was in another county, a fact that the justice could observe from his own home. Notwithstanding the jurisdictional problem, the justice gave a default judgment to his friend. The opposing party (Ms. Bump) did not appear. The justice told his friend "to do whatever he wanted with regard to Ms. Bump's trailer." He then mailed an adverse judgment to Ms. Bump directing her to remove the trailer or its ownership would transfer to his friend, knowing he lacked the authority to dispose of the trailer or grant other equitable relif in a small claims action." (Mike Frisch)