November 17, 2009
Verdict First, Trial Later (Or Not At All)
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has admonished a town cout justice for "serious administrative errors" in eleven traffic cases. IN three of the matters, he failed to advise defendants who had entered not guilty pleas of their trial dates and imposed fines without a trial or guilty plea. He sent notices in two cases to defendant demanding payment of already paid fines. Six times he notified the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to suspend licenses although the fines had been paid or the charges dismissed.
At least two of the defendants retained counsel as a result, one paid the fine twice, and all "had to contact the court to resolve the error in order to avoid further adverse consequences." The judge had been censured in 1997 "for using his judicial prestige to assist a defendant who was awaiting sentencing in another court." (Mike Frisch)
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