Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Watch Who You Treat Rudely

The New York Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a non-lawyer village court justice for misconduct in presiding over two traffic matters.

One matter involved a defendant who had appeared before the justice on many prior occasions. The justice "coerced a guilty plea by threatening to set bail" and warned the defendant that he could spend a month in jail awaiting trial. He did release the defendant, but "showing bias and prejudgment, [the justice] warned the defendant to 'bring money' when he appeared for trial."

The defendant complained to the Commission about the justice. That complaint caused the justice to deny a request for extension that was routinely granted in other cases. The justice denied the request and stated: "You turned me in to the state and you want me to do you a favor?"

The second incident involved a defendant and his father who the justice believed had treated the court clerk in a rude manner.  The justice threatened the father with jail and charges if there was further harassment.

Why was the judge so angry? The court clerk is his wife. (Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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