The Schenectady Daily Gazette by Kathy Bowen - November 13, 2008
EDINBURG, NEW YORK — A newly elected town justice will not be able to take the job in January if he is convicted of any of the four felony charges against him, according to state law. But a state official said that until he is convicted, he could hold office. Brian Kedik, 32, of Edinburg, was elected to a town justice post on Nov. 4. On Tuesday, he was charged with felony driving while intoxicated, felony driving with a suspended license and speeding in Saratoga Springs. He was arraigned in Saratoga Springs City Court and released on $1,500 bail to await future court action.Last month, he was indicted by a Schenectady County grand jury on charges of forgery and grand larceny for allegedly endorsing and cashing a check belonging to his former in-laws, according to Assistant District Attorney William Sanderson. At that time, Kedik said the matter was the result of “an ugly divorce” and he looked forward to explaining his side of the story in court. He was arraigned in Schenectady County Court and released without bail. Paul Toomey of the state’s Town and Village Resource Center trains justices before they take office, and he said Wednesday that state law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from holding office as a justice. “Town Law 31, subsection 5, is clear that any person convicted of a felony in the state of New York or of a crime in another state that would rise to the level of felony in New York will be permanently ineligible to be a town justice,” Toomey said. “The statute is very clear on the word ‘convicted.’ ” He said anyone who is charged but not yet convicted would be eligible to hold the office. The state Commission on Judicial Conduct investigates reports of illegal or unethical behavior by judges. Commission spokeswoman Beth Bar said she could not comment on whether an investigation has begun into allegations against Kedik. “Our investigations, by law, are confidential,” she said. “I would not be able to disclose whether the commission is conducting an investigation.” She said if a judge is sanctioned, the matter would be made public by the commission. Punishments meted out by the commission can range from a simple censure or official reprimand to removal from the bench. Among 85 recent decisions to censure by the commission, more than a dozen deal with judges accused of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol, even if they were not convicted. In a 2005 decision, the commission censured Justice Donna Mills of state Supreme Court in Bronx County, even though she was acquitted of the charge. “The commission has publicly disciplined numerous judges who have been convicted of alcohol-related driving infractions. In the wake of increased recognition of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and the toll it exacts on society, alcohol-related driving misbehavior must be regarded with particular severity — even, as here, where respondent was not convicted of any offense,” the commission wrote. In the Mills case, the judge refused to take a breath test, but police said she admitted that it was inappropriate for her to drive after consuming as much alcohol as she did that evening. Toomey is an instructor for classes taken by justices-elect and said the next class will be held Nov. 14. As of Wednesday, Kedik had not registered for the class next week, Toomey said.
Schenectady Daily Gazette Editorial: Justice-elect in Edinburg should quit now - November 14, 2008
Edinburg Town Justice-elect Brian Kedik would do all parties concerned — including himself — a favor by not showing up for that training program being given today for new town justices by the state’s Town and Village Resource Center. His arrest Tuesday for felony drunken driving and operating on a suspended license indicate he is unfit to dispense justice in Edinburg or anywhere else — and that’s not even taking into account another matter last month, in which he was indicted by a Schenectady County grand jury for allegedly forging and cashing a check that belonged to his former in-laws. Kedik blamed the forged check allegation, which dated back to 2004, on “an ugly divorce,” and said he was looking forward to telling his side of the story in court. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances in the case, but a second-offense DWI and driving with a suspended license are pretty hard to explain away — and, frankly, are inexcusable for a person whose primary responsibility is dispensing justice in similar cases.
Kedik is, of course, legally innocent till proven guilty on all charges, but if there’s even a shred of truth to them, he should fess up immediately and politely inform the proper authorities that they should look for someone else to assume his post come January. To do otherwise would make a mockery of the justice system. Undoubtedly, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct is already watching what happens, but Kedik could spare it a lot of effort, and himself a lot of embarrassment, by withdrawing if the charges are true.
Justice winner faces DWI charge
The Albany Times Union by Christen Gowan - November 13, 2008
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The newly elected Edinburg town justice has been arrested on a charge of felony driving while intoxicated. Brian Kedik, 32, was stopped about 1 p.m. Tuesday by State Park Police who said he was speeding on the Avenue of the Pines. He was later charged with felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, also a felony, authorities said. After being arraigned in Saratoga Springs City Court, Kedik was sent to the Saratoga County Jail in lieu of $1,500 bail. Kedik was also recently indicted in Schenectady County Court on grand larceny and forgery charges for allegedly stealing a check from his former mother-in-law in 2004. Kedik was elected justice in an unopposed race on Nov. 4.