Monday, August 31, 2020

Temper Draws Censure

A former Queens (now Nassau) County Supreme Court Justice drew a censure from the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct for repeated discourtesy

Respondent admitted that she repeatedly yelled at court personnel. She demeaned court employees including her confidential secretary, a principal law clerk and an administrative aide. In one instance, she repeatedly screamed at a courthouse facility supervisor, “You treat me like shit.” Respondent admitted that she frequently yelled at her former confidential secretary and treated her in a condescending and discourteous manner.

Respondent also failed to “cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business” as §100.3(C)(1) of the Rules required. In contravention of OCA policy, she refused to return her old laptop after receiving a new one and yelled at the court’s technical manager who tried to arrange for the return of the old laptop. In another instance, after a motion that she had inappropriately referred to another judge was returned to her, respondent insisted to the administrative judge’s law clerk in a raised voice that she would not decide the motion.

In addition to her inappropriate conduct toward court personnel, respondent also admitted that on three occasions she yelled at counsel who were appearing before her. In one instance, respondent told the parties to enter into a stipulation and when one attorney indicated that there was nothing to which he could stipulate, she yelled at him, “Get out of my courtroom. Get out. Get out.” Respondent acknowledged that she continued to yell at the attorney while he gathered his things and left the courtroom. Such conduct was unbecoming a judge.

Respondent’s pattern of intemperate and abusive behavior was improper and severely undermined confidence in the judiciary.

Censure with cautionary language

We expect that respondent has learned from this experience and in the future will act in strict accordance with her obligation to abide by all the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.

(Mike Frisch )

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink


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