Thursday, October 15, 2020
The New York Court of Appeals has upheld the decision of the Commission on Judicial Conduct to remove a judge for, among other things, improper behavior towards employees
The evidence before the Commission with respect to charge I included the testimony of the former chief clerk of the Broome County Family Court regarding petitioner’s inappropriate behavior toward court staff, including herself. She stated that, during May and June 2017, petitioner told her that, if he “knew [she] could also cook, [he] would have gone for [her];” that “[i]t’s nice to know [he] still ha[s] that effect on [her]” when she apologized for having a hot flash; and that she “look[ed] really hot” in a particular outfit and should always wear it. A court assistant further testified that, while working with petitioner in the courtroom one afternoon in February 2017, petitioner stood up and “yelled” at her in a “demeaning” and “belligerent manner” from a distance of three or four feet away, telling her that she was not doing her job properly, was too slow, and needed to move faster. After learning that the court assistant complained about his behavior, petitioner filed a written complaint, criticizing her job performance. The chief clerk found petitioner’s complaints to be mostly “unfounded” and retaliatory.
As to financial disclosure obligations
It was not until January 2019, after the first five days of the hearing before the Referee in this matter, that petitioner reported to the chief clerk of the Broome County Family Court his extra-judicial income for the years 2015 through 2017.
He had challenged the sanction of removal
Considering petitioner’s misconduct in the aggregate, along with his prior disciplinary history, petitioner “exhibited a pattern of injudicious behavior . . . which cannot be viewed as acceptable conduct by one holding judicial office” (Jung, 11 NY3d at 374 [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]). Accordingly, the determined sanction should be accepted, without costs, and Richard H. Miller, II removed from the office of Judge of the Family Court, Broome County.