Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The New York Court of Appeals modified the determination of the Commission on Judicial Conduct that had sanctioned a judge for delays in moving matters. The court here rejected the judge's contention that the commission "lacks jurisdiction to intrude into matters of internal court administration."
The court stated that"[i]t still remains true that a judge's failure to promptly dispose of pending matters is primarily a matter for administrative correction...We now hold that lengthy, inexcusable delays may also be the subject of disciplinary action, particularly when a judge fails to perform his judicial duties despite repeated administrative efforts to assist the judge and his or her conduct demonstrates an unwillingness or inability to discharge those duties."
The commission must examine the context in which delay occurs to determine if it rises to the level of misconduct. The matter was returned to the commission for a hearing to determine whether the delays at issue were inexcusable. (Mike Frisch)