November 8, 2010
The Smiling Turtle
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has ordered the removal of a judge of the Saratoga County Family Court. The commission concluded that the judge had repeatedly locked up litigants while denying the right to counsel and to a hearing. The periods of incarceration ranged from 21 to 268 days.
The judge also made "egregious and inexcusable" comments of a sexual nature to litigants on two occasions. As reported by its press release, the commission noted:
His gratuitous remarks, which were prompted by an innocuous caricature on a litigant's t-shirt, were ribald and replete with sexual innuendo.
The T-shirt at issue had a caricature of a smiling turtle and the caption "cranky but adorable so I'm worth it." Among other comments, the judge said of the shirt "it's very phallic, and it's a penis with a smile on it."
Removal renders him ineligible for future judicial office. He had previously been cautioned for failing to advise litigants of their right to counsel. (Mike Frisch)
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