Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The New York Court of Appeals has affirmed the removal of a non-attorney town court justice for failure to disqualiy himself from a number of cases involving his paramour's relatives. He contended that "he lacked a familial relationship to the persons and therefore had a 'right to hear those cases.' "
The court concluded that the justice engaged in serious misconduct and that
...in many of the cases at issue, [his] conduct gave the appearance of favoritism towards the Petrie family defendant or complaining witness. Moreover, [his] ex parte communications further exacerbated [his] improper conduct as they highlight his close relationships to the Petrie family and his partiality towards them. Such conduct demonstrates a misuse of his judicial office and damages public confidence in his integrity and impartiality.
The court sits in St. Lawrence County, so I assume these are not the relatives of Rob and Laura Petrie. (Mike Frisch)